Overview of Major Changes to the Common Rule (45 CFR 46)
The revised version of the regulation governing human subjects research (i.e. 45 CFR 46 also known as the Common Rule) became effective January 21, 2019. Accordingly, several IRB forms, documents templates, policies and the IRB applications in IRIS have been revised. It is the intention of the IRB that all federally funded/supported research will be brought into compliance with the revised regulation at the time of the continuing review that occurs on or after January 21, 2019. Until such time as that review occurs those studies are considered grandfathered under the previous version of the regulation. Investigators may request to transition to the revised regulation soon by submitting a request for modification.
The following sections contain a summary of the major changes.
The Consent Form Template and Consent Checklist have been revised to incorporate seven new elements of consent for federally funded/supported research. The new requirement regarding process and the new 7 elements of a consent are as follows
- Consent must begin with a concise and focused presentation of the key information that is most likely to assist a prospective subject or LAR in understanding the reasons why one might or might not want to participate in the research. This part of the informed consent must be organized and presented in a way that facilitates comprehension
- Informed consent as a whole presents information in sufficient detail relating to the research, and is to be organized and presented in a way that does not merely provide lists of isolated facts, but rather facilitates the prospective subject’s or LAR’s understanding of the reasons why one might or might not want to participate
- One of the following statements if the research involves the collection of identifiable private information (IPI) or identifiable biospecimens (IB):
- A statement that identifiers might be removed from the IPI or IB and that, after such removal, the information or biospecimens could be used for future research studies or distributed to another investigator for future research studies without additional informed consent from the subject or the LAR, if this might be a possibility; OR
- A statement that the subject’s information or biospecimens collected as part of the research, even if identifiers are removed, will not be used or distributed for future research studies
- If applicable, a statement that the subject’s biospecimens (even if identifiers are removed) may be used for commercial profit and whether the subject will or will not share in this commercial profit
- If applicable, a statement regarding whether clinically relevant research results, including individual research results, will be disclosed to subjects, and if so, under what conditions
- If applicable, for research involving biospecimens, whether the research will (if known) or might include whole genome sequencing (i.e. sequencing of a human germline or somatic specimen with the intent to generate the genome or exome sequence of that specimen).
For those approved federally funded/supported research studies that are actively enrolling subjects, investigators should submit either at the time of continuation or through a request for modification a revised consent form with the new required elements. Until such time as this review occurs studies are considered grandfathered under the current version of the Common Rule. Subjects will not be required to be re-consented based solely on these changes.
For federally funded/supported studies that are closed to new enrollment the consent form will need to be revised only if there is another reason that triggers a change to the document. For example if new risks are being disclosed, at the time the consent is revised to incorporate the new risk the consent would also have to be brought into compliance with the new requirements.
For previously approved non-federally funded/supported research, no changes are necessary; however, these new elements will be used as the guiding principle of consent elements moving forward.
To learn more about the new elements of consent please review IRB Policy 2011-008.0.pdf– Informed Consent – Forms
The revised regulation expands the definition of Legally Authorized Representative to now recognize that if State law is silent legally authorized representative means an individual recognized by institutional policy as acceptable for providing consent in the non-research context on behalf of the prospective subject to the subject’s participation in the procedure(s) involved in the research.
To learn more about the new changes to the consent process please review IRB Policy 2011-008.5.pdf – Informed Consent – Providing and Obtaining Informed Consent
Waiver/Alteration of Consent: When a waiver or alteration of consent is requested the following additional criterion must be met in order for the IRB to grant the waiver/alteration.
- If the research involves using identifiable private information or identifiable biospecimens, the research could not practicably be carried out without using such information or biospecimens in an identifiable format.
If a waiver is still necessary (see below) for federally funded/supported studies investigators must be sure to address this additional element at the time the study is transitioned to the revised rule.
The revised regulation allows for certain activities regarding screening, recruiting or determining eligibility (e.g. telephone screening or chart reviews for the purpose of determining eligibility) to occur without a waiver/alteration if either of the following conditions are met:
- The investigator will obtain information through oral or written communication with the prospective subject or legally authorized representative, or
- The investigator will obtain identifiable private information or identifiable biospecimens by accessing records or stored identifiable biospecimens.
The above change has been already be implemented for non-federal studies, and as of January 21, 2019 will be implemented to federally funded studies. If a waiver had been previously approved but is no longer necessary, that document should not be included in the submission packet at the time the study is transitioned to the revised rule.
Note: There has been no change to HIPAA and there must be adequate measures in place to protect the confidentiality of any information collected for the purpose of screening, recruiting or determining eligibility prior to informed consent.
To learn more about the new changes to the waiver of consent please review IRB Policy 2011-008.2.pdf – Informed Consent – Waivers and Alterations
Waiver of Documentation of Consent: There is a new provision for allowing for waiver of documentation of consent. Documentation of consent may also be waived if the subjects or LAR are members of a distinct cultural group or community in which signing forms is not the norm, that the research presents no more than minimal risk of harm to subjects and provided there is an appropriate alternative mechanism for documenting that informed consent was obtained.
To learn more about the new changes to the waiver of documentation of consent please review IRB Policy 2011-008.2.pdf – Informed Consent – Waivers and Alterations
Changes to Continuing Review Requirement: Unless otherwise required and justified by the IRB, continuing review will no longer be required for non-FDA regulated federally funded research that meets the criteria for expedited review.
Investigators who have non-FDA regulated federally funded research that qualifies for expedited review will be asked to provide an expected completion date of the research, which will become the expiration date of IRB approval. For previously approved research this may be provided as part of one last request for continuation (e.g. if IRIS has already generated a continuing review due task) or as part of a request for modification. The PI will be required to submit a request for modification to extend this expected completion date if necessary. The IRB may require justification for the expected completion date as it deems appropriate.
Note: Continuing review is still a requirement for all FDA regulated research even if all subjects are in long-term follow-up or the research is in data analysis. The IRB has already implemented this practice for expedited research that is not federally funded or subject to FDA oversight.
New Exempt Categories : There have been several revisions to the types of research that may be exempt and the exemptions may now apply to research that only incidentally includes prisoners as subjects (e.g. the research is aimed at involving a broader subject population and only incidentally includes a subject who became incarcerated after providing consent). These categories are applicable regardless of funding source. The new exemption categories are described in the form titled Request for Exemption
Any study previously granted an exemption remains grandfathered under that exemption.
Studies that had been approved through the expedited process that may qualify for exemption under the revised regulation will be transitioned to exempt status on a case-by-case basis as requests for continuation or modifications are received.
To learn more about the revised Exempt categories please review Policy # 2011-009.2.pdf – Institutional Review Board – Exemptions
Changes to the Initial Application Form in IRIS: The IRB application form in IRIS has been edited. The request for Exempt status categories and Expedited review categories have been removed from the application and are now described in two separate word documents to be attached to the application form in IRIS. The following forms have been published in the IRB website:
- The following IRB forms have been updated and published in the IRB website:
- Application Checklist for Expedited Review (to reference request for expedited review form)
- Application Checklist for Exemption (to reference request for exemption form)
- Consent Checklist Addendum to Transition to Revised Rule (lists only new elements of 45 CFR 46 to incorporate into prior version of ICF for studies approved prior to 1/21/2019)
- Human Subject Determination Form (based on updated definitions and activities that are deemed not to be research)
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ResearchMatch (RM) is the national online recruitment tool that matches people interested in participating in studies with researchers throughout the U.S. There is no cost to UConn Health researchers to use ResearchMatch. Once you register as a researcher, you can review the population characteristics of the ResearchMatch registry, which includes over 135,000 people from every state in the country.
*NEW* ResearchMatch has just launched a Spanish version of the website inviting Spanish speakers to sign up in Spanish. Researchers from UConn Health are now able to connect with and recruit Spanish-speaking volunteers for their studies.
If you would like to use ResearchMatch, you will need IRB approval for this recruitment method, including approval of the contact message emailed to volunteers. ResearchMatch can be added to an already-approved study via a modification.
Already registered with ResearchMatch and want to recruit Spanish-speaking volunteers? Submit your ResearchMatch contact message and other materials translated into Spanish (consent form, questionnaires, etc.) for IRB approval and ensure you are prepared for inquiries from Spanish-speaking volunteers.