Improvements to Operational Approval application process for research studies

4 December 2023

The Research Approval Processes Project (RAPP) is set to make improvements to the operational approval application process for research studies. Operational Approval, also known as an Operational Review, holds a crucial role in evaluating how a study may impact a health authority’s operations.

Operational Approvals assess the capacity and capability of the services and resources involved in a proposed study. This essential part of the study approval process forms part of the requirements for institutional approval, which green lights a research study.

Researchers have faced notable challenges within and across health authorities when navigating the various application forms required for operational approval. Currently, researchers are required to complete different, yet structurally similar, forms for each health authority in which they plan to conduct their study.

RAPP is taking steps to simplify this process by creating an upfront, standardized application form for operational approvals, which can be universally adopted by all health authorities in British Columbia. This form is being developed by distilling the essential elements from existing forms, providing a foundational template that addresses the duplication of effort faced by researchers, and refining/validating this with subject matter experts. The development of a common form will also facilitate the sharing of best practices across the health authorities, enabling staff to continue to share and learn from the experiences and lessons of their peers.

While specialized forms for specific disciplines such as cardiology and pediatrics may still be required, the language and queries in the common form will be standardized, offering a more streamlined experience for researchers embarking on their investigative journeys.

The work of RAPP is dynamic and constantly evolving. As health authorities and the research community collaborate on this endeavor, further strategies are expected to emerge. Getting the operational review materials right is one part of the larger RAPP to support the timely conduct of high-quality and relevant research for people in British Columbia (and beyond).

Learn more about the Research Approvals Processes Project here.