Scripting the Way for Rodent Procedure Recordkeeping Compliance


Problem statement: Documentation requirements for non-USDA and USDA regulated species differ at this institution. USDA record maintenance has been appropriate, but the non-USDA rodent users' records continue to be inadequate and are a subsequent non-compliance concern. 

Description of research: Training efforts included the implementation of a customized online course that highlights the regulatory requirements and basic principles of recordkeeping, an optional didactic lecture, continued education for the IACUC members, and increased attention on records during semiannual inspections and post-approval monitoring visits. Through the combined efforts of education and the required completion of the rodent recordkeeping course prior to protocol approval, post-procedural recordkeeping has improved. However, while we have found there are rodent procedure records now present, there is still a need to place greater emphasis on compliance to the ‘Policy on Recordkeeping,’ the ‘Rodent Anesthesia, Surgery, and Analgesia Standard Operating Procedure,’ and the IACUC approved protocol. While we expected the recordkeeping deficiencies to decrease following the implementation of the required training module, it became apparent that our attention to the specific details and oversight of recordkeeping had markedly increased during this time. As a result, we have scripted a Rodent Procedure Record institutional outreach using research methods from Chip Heath and Dan Heath’s book, Switch: How to Change Things When Change is Hard. The Heath’s (2010) presented decades of counterintuitive research in psychology, sociology, and other fields to show how we can affect transformative change using a pattern, or script to make the changes that matter. 

Additional information: The outreach efforts include a very specific script, scheduled visits to over 200 laboratories, and the use of a newly created 'Rodent Procedure Record' form. In the past, we allowed researchers to use a laboratory notebook, a post-procedure analgesia form, or excel spreadsheet. Now, we are changing the requirements, scripting out specifically what we want to see, and providing crystal clear direction; all elements presented in the book, Switch, to help with this organizational change effort.