Review of multicenter studies by multiple institutional review boards: Characteristics and outcomes for perinatal studies implemented by a multicenter network

Adi Abramovici, Ashley Salazar, Tonya Edvalson, Nancy Gallagher, Karen Dorman, Alan Tita

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

6 Scopus citations


Objective The objective of the study was to describe characteristics and outcomes of a review of multisite perinatal studies by individual institutional review boards (IRBs) and identify barriers and opportunities for streamlined IRB review.

Study Design We compared the review of 5 collaborative protocols by individual IRBs at National Perinatal Research Consortium centers from 2007 through 2012. Three randomized trials, 1 observational study, and 1 follow-up study of a trial were selected. IRB logs and communications were reviewed and abstracted by trained team members.

Results Seven or 8 IRBs reviewed each protocol. Monthly IRB meeting frequency varied from 1 to 6. Full board review was required by all IRBs for the primary trials but not by all for the observational protocols. The overall duration from submission to approval (P =.024) and number of stipulations (P =.007) differed across protocols but not across IRBs. However, times from submission-to-IRB review (P =.011) and IRB review-to-initial letter (P <.007) differed across sites. Both overall submission-to-approval and initial review-to-approval times increased with the increasing number of IRB review stipulations (both values P <.001). Significant delays (>60 days) were few and not consistent across IRBs or protocols. Most stipulations were stylistic or editorial modifications rather than regulatory requests. All protocols were approved without changes, and no more than 1 IRB meeting was needed at each site.

Conclusion Findings confirm unnecessary duplication and variability and some similarities in IRB review processes and outcomes for multisite perinatal studies. This may help guide initiatives to streamline IRB review and reduce research delays and burdens.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)110.e1-110.e6
JournalAmerican journal of obstetrics and gynecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015



  • institutional review boards
  • multicenter studies
  • perinatal studies

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Obstetrics and Gynecology

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