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Exempt & Expedited Reviews

Information about "Exempt" and "Expedited" Institutional Review Board (IRB) reviews.

"Exempt" Review

Download the Checklist for Determination of Exemption used by our staff as our regulatory framework for determining if a study is eligible for an Exempt Review.

All research must be approved by the IRB. No research is exempt from review. When the term "exempt" is used, the IRB has determined that risks involved in the proposed study are below the regulatory threshold that binds the researcher to further accountability and oversight by the IRB. “Exempt” research typically does not require documentation of informed consent (i.e., an “information sheet” rather than a “consent form” can be used).

All research participants must be given information about the research in which they will participate. The information must be adequate for the prospective participant to make an independent determination whether he/she is willing to engage in the research.

Generally, research cannot be considered exempt when:

  • Research participants include minors, or protected/sensitive populations (prisoners, fetuses, mentally disabled persons, pregnant women, legally incompetent persons, or human in vitro fertilization).
  • A participant can be identified (directly or indirectly) and disclosure of the participant's responses outside of the research could result in risk of criminal or civil liability or be damaging to the participant's financial standing, employability or reputation.
  • Responses are videotaped or audiotaped.

"Expedited" Review

Download the Checklist for Eligibility of Expedited Review used by our staff as our regulatory framework for determining if a study is eligible for an Exempt Review.

The IRB may conduct an "expedited" review for research activities that

  1. present no more than minimal risk to human subjects, and
  2. involve only procedures listed in one or more of the following categories,

as authorized by 45 CFR 46.110 and 21 CFR 56.110. The activities listed should not be deemed to be of minimal risk simply because they are included on this list. Inclusion on this list merely means that the activity is eligible for review through the expedited review procedure when the specific circumstances of the proposed research involve no more than minimal risk to human subjects.

The categories in this list apply regardless of the age of subjects, except as noted.

The expedited review procedure may not be used where identification of the subjects and/or their responses would reasonably place them at risk of criminal of civil liability or be damaging to the subjects’ financial standing, employability, insurability, reputation or be stigmatizing, unless reasonable and appropriate protections will be implemented so that risks related to invasion of privacy and breach of confidentiality are no greater than minimal.

The expedited review procedure may not be used for classified research involving human subjects.

Standard requirements for informed consent (or its waiver, alteration or exception) apply regardless of the type of review – expedited or convened – utilized by the IRB.

Categories one (1) through seven (7) pertain to both initial and continuing IRB review.

Research Categories

  1. Clinical studies of drugs and medical devices only when condition (a) or (b) is met.
    1. Research on drugs for which an investigational new drug application (21 CFR Part 312) is not required. (Note: Research on marketed drugs that significantly increases the risks or decreases the acceptability of the risks associated with the use of the product is not eligible for expedited review.)
    2. Research on medical devices for which (i) an investigational device examination application (21 CFR Part 812) is not required; or (ii) the medical device is cleared/approved for marketing and the medical device is being used in accordance with its cleared/approved labeling.
  2. Collection of blood samples be finger stick, heel stick, ear stick or venipuncture as follows:
    1. From healthy, non-pregnant adults who weigh at least 110 pounds. For these subjects, the amounts drawn may not exceed 550 mL in an 8-week period and collection may not occur more frequently than 2 times per week; or
    2. From other adults and children, considering the age, weight, and health of the subjects, the collection procedure, the amount of blood to be collected, and the frequency with which it will be collected. For these subjects, the amount drawn may not exceed the lesser of 50 mL or 3 mL per kg in an 8-week period and collection may not occur more frequently than 2 times per week.
  3. Prospective collection of biological specimens for research purposes by noninvasive means. Examples:

    1. hair and nail clippings in a non-disfiguring manner;

    2. deciduous teeth at time of exfoliation or if routine patient care indicates a need for extraction;

    3. permanent teeth if routine patient care indicates a need for extraction;

    4. excreta and external secretions (including sweat);

    5. uncannulated saliva collected either in an unstimulated fashion or stimulated by chewing gumbase or wax or by applying a dilute citric solution to the tongue;

    6. placenta removed at delivery;

    7. amniotic fluid obtained at the time of rupture of the membrane prior to or during labor;

    8. supra-and subgingival dental plaque and calculus, provided the collection procedure is not more invasive than routine prophylactic scaling of teeth and the process is accomplished in accordance with accepted prophylactic techniques;

    9. mucosal and skin cells collected by buccal scraping or swab, skin swab, or mouth washings;

    10. sputum collected after saline mist nebulization.

  4. Collection of data through noninvasive procedures (not involving general anesthesia or sedation) routinely employed in clinical practice, excluding procedures involving e-rays or microwaves. Where medical devices are employed, they must be cleared/approved for marketing. (Studies intended to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the medical device are not generally eligible for expedited review, including studies of cleared medical devices for new indications.) Examples:

    1. physical sensors that are applied either to the surface of the body or at a distance and do not involve input of significant amounts of energy into the subject of an invasion of the subject’s privacy;

    2. weighing or testing sensory acuity;

    3. magnetic resonance imaging;

    4. electrocardiography, electroencephalography, thermography, detection of naturally occurring radioactivity, electroretinography, ultrasound, diagnostic infrared imaging, doppler blood flow, and echocardiography;

    5. moderate exercise, muscular strength testing, body composition assessment, and flexibility testing where appropriate given the age, weight and health of the individual.

  5. Research involving materials (data, documents, records or specimens) that have been collected, or will be collected solely for non-research purposes (such as medical treatment or diagnosis). (NOTE: Some research in this category may be exempt from the HHS regulations for the protection of human subjects. 45 CFR 46.101(b)(4). This listing refers only to research that is not exempt.)

  6. Collection of data from voice, video, digital or image recordings made for research purposes.

  7. Research on individual or group characteristics or behavior (including, but not limited to, research on perception, cognition, motivation, identity, language, communication, cultural beliefs or practices, and social behavior) or research employing survey, interview, oral history, focus group, program evaluation, human factors evaluation, or quality assurance methodologies. (NOTE: Some research in this category may be exempt from the HHS regulations for the protection of human subjects. 45 CFR 46.101(b)(2) and (b)(3). This listing refers only to research that is not exempt.)

  8. Continuing review of research previously approved by the convened IRB as follows:

    1. where

      1. the research is permanently closed to the enrollment of new subjects;

      2. all subjects have completed all research-related interventions; and

      3. the research remains active only for long-term follow-up of subjects; or

    2. where no subjects have been enrolled and no additional risks have been identified;

    3. where the remaining research activities are limited to data analysis.

  9. Continuing review of research, not conducted under an investigational new drug application or investigational device exemption where categories two (2) through eight (8) do not apply but the IRB has determined and documented at a convened meeting that the research involves no greater than minimal risk and no additional risks have been identified.

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by Reinke, Heidi last modified Apr 30, 2015 10:49 AM