The Road to Success: Rolling Out Electronic Animal Study Protocol (ASP) Software


Problem statement: As institutions strive to become innovative in incorporating the opportunities presented by new technologies, the challenges of training faculty, staff, investigators, and animal care personnel can be overwhelming for some institutions. The roll out process for any new software requires a tremendous amount of time and work from all involved parties – reviewers, veterinarians, IACUC staff, and your IT group.

Description of research: When considering a move to an electronic ASP submission system, an in-house system may be created, or there are many choices from system vendors. The route we chose was an off-the-shelf product that, in particular, allowed our principal investigators (PIs) to create a library for their lab’s substances and procedures. We needed to retrain all those involved with writing and reviewing protocols, reviewers, veterinarians, IACUC staff, PIs, and their lab members and members of the animal care program who need to have access to ASPs. With over 200 PIs and 890-1000 ASPs, we decided to utilize a slow roll out.  A concierge approach meant first training personnel from labs submitting a new or de novo ASP and PIs new to the university. This allowed us to spend time not only training each PI and their staff in the creation of their substance and procedure library and overall protocol, but also allowed us time to help with the review process (knowing where to make the changes and how to respond to the committee on the changes made).  We retrained IACUC staff on the pre-review process and reviewers on the process they would use. Within the last year we’ve trained about 100 labs, the IACUC staff, reviewers, and members of the animal care program. After an initial protocol is created and approved in the new system, the time need to create subsequent ASPs has been cut in half.  Lab staff may easily verify substances and procedures across multiple protocols to avoid noncompliance.  The number of modifications needed in order for a protocol to be approved has been reduced.

Additional information: With more IACUC's moving toward electronic systems this topic has the potential to also be a break out session.