Conducting Research in the ED

All faculty and trainees in the DEM who wish to submit a research study for IRB review, as well as other researchers who wish to enroll ED patients or perform research activities within the ED at any UW Health facility, must have the study approved by the Emergency Medicine Research Committee (EMRC).  In most cases, the EMRC will require a DEM faculty member to be an investigator.

The mission of the EMRC is to assess the scientific merit of the research projects and the feasibility of implementing the study in the ED, and support researchers to improve proposed studies.  The EMRC also ensures that the studies do not pose excessive subject burden, conflict with existing studies, interfere with patient care, impede departmental operations, or place patients, visitors, or staff at risk.  The EMRC approval process is not meant to be a barrier to research.  EMRC meetings occur on the 1st and 3rd Tuesday of every month from 12:30-1:30pm CST.

This is an accordion element with a series of buttons that open and close related content panels.

How to obtain initial approval for a research study: 

Prior to submitting a study for IRB review, all investigators must complete the steps below:

  1. Contact the EMRC by phone (608) 262-1452 or to schedule a time to present the protocol to the EMRC. The presentation should be made by the PI, UW Site PI, or a faculty member who can engage in a discussion regarding the study.
  2. Complete the Study Feasibility Survey and submit it to the EMRC in advance of the meeting (by the Thursday before the EMRC meeting at which the protocol will be presented), along with the IRB protocol and all supporting documents (especially surveys, if applicable). This information will be distributed to EMRC members. EMRC meetings occur on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month.
  3. Attend the meeting to briefly present the protocol and engage in a discussion regarding the study. This presentation should include:
    • The purpose
    • The timeline
    • The research methods including the study population, eligibility criteria, and recruitment
      objectives (N= __)
    • ED resources needed
    • Impact on ED operations
    • Funding for research activities
    • Funding for IRB review
  4. The EMRC will either approve the study or request changes. If approved, the signed feasibility letter will be provided to the study team. This letter must be submitted with the IRB application.

A well-structured protocol helps the EMRC efficiently review the study, the IRB efficiently review the study, and the research team ensure reliable and rigorous methods. The UW Health Sciences IRB has guidance for investigators, including a new Investigator Manual, and it is recommended that you review the numerous resources on their website.

How to renew approval for a research study:

Prior to submitting the continuing review to the IRB review, all investigators must complete the steps below:

  1. Contact the EMRC (608) 262-1452 or to request reapproval.
  2. Submit the EMRC re-approval form with any needed supporting information