Request for exemption from HREC review2017-12-04T04:38:39+00:00

Request for exemption from HREC review

The requirements for submitting an exemption request to the HREC with the intent to publish a quality assurance/audit activity are provided in this guideline.

Frequently asked questions

Is my research exempt from ethics review?

The National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research (paragraphs 5.1.22 and 5.1.23) defines research that can be exempted from ethics review as negligible risk research that involves the use of existing collections of data or records that contain only non-identifiable data about human beings.

Following are examples of types of research exempt from ethics review:

  • Systematic reviews and meta-analysis of published and non-identifiable data
  • Studies that involve data available in the public domain
  • Experimental or laboratory studies that do not involve data collected from or about humans or animals

Non-research activities exempt from ethics review include quality assurance activities and the publication of case reports. Quality assurance activities where there is intent to publish findings may be submitted to the HREC Chairperson for exemption of ethics review. Individual patient consent should be obtained for the publication of case reports; however, ethics review is not required (HREC Chairperson advice can be sought, if required). Case reports involving more than 2 individuals are classified as a case series and require ethics review.

Is my project research or quality assurance?

This is a common question for locally developed projects aimed at measuring patient outcomes and the impact of models of care. Quality assurance and research exist on a continuum of activity and sometimes expert advice is required to determine the appropriate approval pathway to follow. Key questions to ask are, What is the primary aim of my project? and how will the results be used?

If the aim of your project is to evaluate and monitor local practice and your results will be used by local staff to inform and improve health care or service delivery, then (in most cases) you are undertaking a quality assurance activity rather than research. Ethical principles apply to both quality assurance and research; however, quality assurance requires institutional oversight (e.g. by a departmental director, executive director or the Safety and Quality Unit), while most research requires ethical review and site authorisation.

Research is defined in the Australian Code for the Responsible Conduct of Research as an original investigation undertaken to gain knowledge, understanding and insight. In contrast, quality assurance is an organised process that evaluates, assesses and seeks to improve health service delivery, including improvement of patient and population outcomes and health service efficiency.

For specific guidance, you should contact the HREC Coordinator/Chairperson or site Research Governance Officer.  See also the National Health and Medical Research Council publication on Ethical Considerations in Quality Assurance and Evaluation Activities.

Contact us

The Prince Charles Hospital

Research office
Building 14
Rode Road

Human Research and Ethics Committee
Phone: (07) 3139 4500
Open: Monday-Friday, 8.00am-3.00pm
Chairperson: Dr Russell Denman
Coordinator and Manager: Anne Carle

Research Governance Officer
Phone: (07) 3139 4407
Open: Monday-Friday, 8.00am-3.00pm
Contact:  Ascar Yu

Royal Brisbane and Women’s Hospital

Human Research Ethics Office
Level 7, Block 7
Butterfield Street
Phone: (07) 3646 6132
Open: Monday-Friday, 7.30am-4.00pm
Acting Chairperson: Dr Allison Sutherland
Coordinator: Ann-Maree Gordon

Research Services
Lower ground floor, Executive Offices
James Mayne Building
Phone: (07) 3646 8579
Fax: (07) 3646 2355
Open:  Monday-Friday, 7.45am-3.45pm
Contact: Jacqueline Robinson

Redcliffe, Caboolture and Kilcoy Hospitals and Community, Indigenous and Subacute Services

Research Office
Redcliffe Hospital
Anzac Avenue

Research Governance Officer
Phone: (07) 3883 7243
Open: Monday-Friday, 8.00am-4.30pm
Contact: Vanessa Constable

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