Case Study

National Health and Medical Research Council - Human Research Ethics Application

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NHMRC, an independent statutory agency is Australia’s leading expert body promoting the development and maintenance of public and individual health standards. With the mission Working to Build a Healthy Australia, NHMRC invests in high quality health and medical research and researchers, supports translation of medical research into clinical practice, policy and health system, and maintains a strong integrity framework for research and development guidelines.


The Challenge

The National Ethics Application Form (NEAF) at the time was widely used by researchers throughout Australia to submit ethics applications for review by a Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC). The research community had provided feedback that NEAF has numerous limitations. The form was too long and the question logic did not link with the content required, which made it complex for users to use and navigate. It also did not support non-biomedical research well and contained requirements for unnecessary information. Moreover, the output of the form was not user friendly.

The challenge for F1 Solutions was to develop, deploy and implement a range of functions and create a solution which supported highly flexible forms capability.

The Solution

F1 Solutions implemented a platform that integrates SmartForms technology (Intelledox Infinity) with OmniStar Ethics to give users a single integrated system experience replacing existing NEAF with Human Research Ethics Application (HREA) form. Client is able to make changes to the form in a controlled manner, which allows them to be responsive to their users’ needs. Version control is supported, making change management easy to control and implement.

The solution includes an admin portal and a public facing site. The admin portal allows internal administrator users to perform advanced configuration and management of the form system as well as modify and publish the HREA form. The public facing site is a portal in which external users such as researchers and external administrators can access to complete HREA form as a registered user or a guest user. OmniStar Ethics supports Application Programming Interface (APIs) that allow external research management systems to obtain HREA data programmatically and can be integrated with external systems such as ORCID, email, document management and FMIS.

The solution is hosted as Software as a Service with AWS (Amazon Web Services) for efficiency and cost savings.

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The benefits for NMHRC

This project commenced in September of 2015 and was launched in September 2016. The roll out of the project continues to give NHMRC the following benefits:

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Reduce the amount of rework in producing many similar documents while maintaining content governance, accuracy and consistency of style

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The new form which is intuitive, easy to navigate with incorporated logic will solve existing problems associated with NEAF

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By implementing OmniStar Ethics, NHMRC achieved agile, automated and tailored communications, as well as secure access and confidential delivery processes

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More flexible and powerful system audits and granular optics ensure the organisation is fully compliant and meets its probity criteria.

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Disparate legacy systems have been brought together onto a single platform, meaning workflow is now significantly streamlined, preventing duplication of work and generating time efficiencies for all stakeholders

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ARENA engaged F1 Solutions on a time and materials basis to perform the agreed scope of work. Weekly project status meetings were held to manage the delivery of the scope of work to the agreed budget, time frame and risk management. F1 Solutions went the extra mile to ensure the delivery of the project.

Lloyd Monahan

ARENA, Project Manager

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