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Ethics & Human Research

Institutional Review Boards’ Assessment of Local Context: A Mixed Methods Study

ABSTRACT The nature of the review of local context by institutional review boards (IRBs) is vague. Requirements for single IRB review of multicenter trials create a need to better understand interpretation and implementation of local-context review and how to best implement such reviews centrally. We sought a pragmatic understanding of IRB local-context review by exploring stakeholders’ attitudes and perceptions. Semistructured interviews with 26 IRB members and staff members, institutional officials, and investigators were integrated with 80 surveys of similar stakeholders and analyzed with qualitative theme-based text analysis and descriptive statistical analysis. Stakeholders described what they considered to be local context, the value of local-context review, and key processes used to implement review of local context in general and for emergency research conducted with an exception from informed consent. Concerns and potential advantages of centralized review of local context were expressed. Variability in perspectives suggests that local-context review is not a discrete process, which presents opportunities for defining pathways for single IRB review.

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