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 hospital, 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.

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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 at (608) 263-6690 or emresearch@medicine.wisc.edu to schedule a time to present the protocol to the EMRC.  The presentation should be made by 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 Friday before the EMRC meeting at which the protocol will be presented), along with the IRB protocol and EMRC initial cover page. This information will be distributed to EMRC members. This survey is being implemented due to a requirement from the SMPH. Each department needs to sign off on all IRB submissions, and this survey needs to be completed in order to ensure department sign-off.
  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, a letter will be provided to the study team.  This letter must be submitted with the IRB application.

A well-structured protocol helps the EMRC and IRB efficiently review the study and assists the research team in ensuring reliable and rigorous methods are employed.  The UW Health Sciences IRB has guidance for investigators within the “New Investigators Guide,”  and the EMRC has a protocol template that can be used for this purpose.

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) 263-6690 or emresearch@medicine.wisc.edu to request renewed approval for your research study.
  2. Submit the EMRC re-approval form with any required supporting information.