The federally registered committee, MHS Institutional Review Board (IRB), has a number of important responsibilities.
- The first and foremost purpose is to protect the rights and welfare of all patients admitted to MemorialCare and related facilities who are involved in research while in these institutions.
- The second responsibility is to ensure the scientific validity and appropriateness of biomedical and behavioral studies proposed by physicians, nurses and other health care professionals affiliated with MemorialCare.
- The last responsibility is to review the qualifications to conduct research of each investigator, as well as the feasibility of conducting the research at a MemorialCare facility in regard to space, time and funding.
The MHS Institutional Review Board reviews, and must approve, all investigational protocols prior to the onset of research. It is also responsible for continued monitoring of all ongoing research. This involves submission of a detailed annual progress report on every project, or more frequently if appropriate. In making its decisions, the Board must determine that:
- The risks to any patient are outweighed by the sum of the benefits to the research subject and the importance of the knowledge to be gained. This includes privacy as well as biomedical risks.
- The rights and welfare of the research participant will be fully protected by adequate and appropriate methods.
- Informed consent will be obtained by adequate and appropriate methods before any patient participation in a research program.
- The investigators proposing to do the research have presented descriptive protocols, accompanied by relevant consent forms, in sufficient detail that the council can adequately evaluate the proposal.
By fulfilling all these responsibilities, the MHS Institutional Review Board accomplishes its mission to safeguard the public welfare and contribute to the best interests of all concerned parties—the patient, the research team and MemorialCare.