Team Streamlines Chart Review Research Applications

Retrospective chart review research, which analyzes existing patient data, is an important way to get early-stage research off the ground, but the application process can be daunting for investigators.

“Chart review studies provide an essential way for residents and junior investigators, who generally have limited time and budgets for research, to get their foot in the door doing research,” said Amy Gelfand, MD, an assistant professor at UCSF and a pediatric neurologist at the UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital. “However, junior researchers may avoid conducting chart-review research because of a challenging application process.”

Although chart-review studies qualify for expedited Committee on Human Research (CHR) review, Gelfand notes that the process of completing a 20-page form and waiting a median time of 32 days for approval can be burdensome. The CHR is UCSF's Institutional Review Board (IRB), a committee that reviews research involving human subjects to ensure ethical and equitable treatment of those subjects.

With the goal of streamlining this process, and supported by a pilot award from UCSF’s Clinical and Translational Science Institute (CTSI), Gelfand convened a multidisciplinary team to conduct a rigorous evaluation of the CHR application and approval pathway.