North Shore-LIJ attains accreditation of human research protections processes

05/04/04

GREAT NECK, NY – The North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System today announced accreditation of a major arm of its human research protections processes by the Partnership for Human Research Protections (PHRP). A watchdog group, PHRP is a joint collaboration of the two most trusted names in healthcare quality and safety -- the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO) and the National Committee for Quality Assurance (NCQA).

The three-year accreditation awarded to Biomedical Research Alliance of New York (BRANY), a research administration organization for the protection of human research subjects owned in part by the North Shore-LIJ Health System, comes after an intensive review by PHRP. The review resulted in a score well above the threshold required for a three-year accreditation period. Lower-passing scores result in accreditation for only a one-year period.

"The North Shore-LIJ Health System is dedicated to continuous quality improvement. BRANY is a unique and highly respected research administration organization and together we have made a commitment to protect the safety and welfare of human subjects participating in research within the health system," said Bernard M. Rosof, MD, MACP, the health system's senior vice president of corporate relations and health affairs and the institutional official for BRANY. As BRANY's institutional official, Dr. Rosof is the most senior ranking official overseeing the use of BRANY's institutional review boards (IRBs) -- committees that review and ensure the integrity and safety of proposed research studies as they relate to human subjects protections -- by BRANY's 138 affiliate members, consisting of hospitals, medical schools and research centers across the United States.

"The accreditation process was extremely rigorous," said Eileen Hilton, MD, president and CEO of BRANY. "It sounds cliché, but every single facet of the process was valuable. We found that even though we do things right, we can always do better."

Accreditation by PHRP is already having an impact on human subjects protection, according to Dr. Hilton. The process helped raise the educational requirements of investigators for improving their ability to identify potential conflicts of interest as well as better communicate potential conflicts to the public.

North Shore-LIJ and BRANY opted to use PHRP among the available accrediting bodies because of PHRP's affiliation with the well-respected JCAHO. They knew they were ensured a high quality, rigorous review process. "We've worked with JCAHO many times before during our hospital accreditation processes and we have first-hand knowledge of the high standards to which JCAHO holds their accredited institutions," said Dr. Rosof. Both Drs. Rosof and Hilton agreed the more rigorous the review, the better protected their human subjects were. "It's a win-win situation," said Dr. Rosof.

According to Dr. Hilton, the accreditation process took a year and cost in excess of $50,000 in fees and staff time. "It was an investment well worth it," she said.

In addition to the North Shore-LIJ Health System, BRANY has four other founding members -- Montefiore Medical Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, New York University School of Medicine and Saint Vincent Catholic Medical Centers. But North Shore-LIJ is the only founding member to mandate the use of the BRANY IRBs for all pharmaceutical-sponsored studies involving human subjects. BRANY's streamlined and efficient processes for administering research contracts and reviews have brought greater numbers of investigational therapies to the people of Long Island, Queens and Staten Island.

About North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System

The nation's third largest, non-profit, secular healthcare system, the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Health System provides care for people at all stages of illness throughout Long Island, Queens and Staten Island, NY. The health system includes 18 hospitals, four long-term care facilities, three trauma centers, seven home health agencies and dozens of outpatient centers. North Shore-LIJ facilities house more than 5,670 beds, and are staffed by over 7,000 physicians, 7,000 nurses and a total workforce of more than 33,700 -- the largest on Long Island and the eighth largest in New York City.

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