A New York Times editorial (who said we always disagree with them?) says federal regulation of human-subjects research under the Institutional Review Board system is slowing down hospitals' efforts to study the benefits of tightening safety protocols on such matters as handwashing and sterile practice. "Seeking approval is a cumbersome process that could delay studies for months. Surely, as the nation�s health care system works to reform dysfunctional practices, this makes no sense. The rules intended to protect patients could instead slow organizational reforms that would benefit the patients." More at Future Pundit and Health Care for All; earlier coverage of IRBs here and here. The problem of IRB oversight of hospital checklist development was earlier explored in a December Times piece by author/surgeon Atul Gawande. And see Orac, Respectful Insolence, Jan. 3.
Times: IRBs impede hospital safety improvements