The Ethics module of the Research for Health and Innovation Organiser (RHInnO Ethics) is an innovative cloud-based platform or ‘Software as a Service’ (SaaS) enabling Research Ethics Committees (RECs) / Institutional Review Boards (IRBs) in low and middle-income countries (LMICs) to deliver better quality, more efficient, accelerated and standardized ethical review of research for global health. It is specifically tailored to cater for the challenges experienced in Africa, including issues of low internet bandwidth, constant power outages and high maintenance costs. It was designed and developed in Africa and Latin America with the aim of providing RECs with a highly secure, cloud-based solution to enhance communication, improve quality and efficiency and enhance ethics review information management. It produces important performance indicators for RECs and sends real-time alerts and reminders to researchers, reviewers and administrators hence increasing efficiency. It can be used to report on and monitor Serious Adverse Events (SAEs) thus enhancing the RECs' pharmacovigilance practices. And it provides user-friendly dashboards and interactive interfaces, making the ethics review process less cumbersome, without compromising on its quality.
The RHInnO Ethics platform is an information management system and an expert-decision support system for individual Research Ethics Committee (RECs). It also has a ‘national’ version, that enables national ethics committees to provide accreditation and monitor the quality and performance of institutional committees. RHInnO Ethics aims to secure and mitigate risks in ethical reviews in order to hasten the cycle of drug discovery and delivery and bring about the much-needed relief from the burden of disease. Quality, efficient and timely ethics review can accelerate the discovery of medical innovations, thus saving lives and invaluable resources. It should be noted that RHInnO Ethics is also entirely suitable for use by RECs operating in other research contexts, e.g. social science research involving human participants, or medical research that does not involve clinical trials.
RHInnO Ethics was developed by COHRED. From July 2021, EthiXPERT took over the ownership, management and coordination of this platform. We believe that RHInnO Ethics will go a long way toward addressing the challenges experienced by African RECs and revolutionizing the ethics review process in Africa and beyond!