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2018 Revised Common Rule

Revisions to the Common Rule

The federal government issued a six-month delay of the new regulations on human subjects research that were set to go into effect this Friday.  We sincerely appreciate the efforts of many of you who attended education sessions and provided valuable feedback on revised policies and application forms. 

We will update this page and keep you informed as new guidance becomes available. 

Please note there is no delay in the separate NIH requirement for single IRB review of multi-site research that goes into effect on January 25, 2018.  The KUMC HRPP welcomes consultations with investigators who are proposing or participating in NIH-funded collaborations.  For assistance, you can email

OHRP posts a copy of the new rule and related information at:  

The KUMC HRPP is offering training on these new requirements:

  • December 8, 2017:     12pm in Wahl East Auditorium
  • December 15, 2017:  12pm in CRC Fairway Auditorium
  • January 10, 2018:       12pm in Wahl East Auditorium       


Exempt Research

The Revised Common Rule broadens the types of research that qualify for exemption.  Several exempt categories have been revised, and there are new categories of exemptions.  The exemption comparison chart shows how the categories have changed.  Note that some exemption categories require limited IRB review, which is a new type of review. 

Continuing Review

The Revised Common Rule removes the requirement for continuing review for minimal risk research and for full-board research that is in long-term follow-up or data analysis only, unless the research is FDA-regulated.  

  • New research:  When the new rules go into effect, new minimal risk research will not automatically undergo continuing review by the IRB unless it is FDA-regulated.  The IRB may require continuing review for special circumstances such as studies involving conflict of interest, IRB reliance or prior compliance concerns.   

  • Ongoing research:  When the KUMC IRB conducts continuing review for ongoing research during 2018, the IRB will determine whether transition to the Revised Common Rule would be allowed and whether it would be potentially advantageous to the research.    

Even when continuing review is not required, investigators remain responsible for updating the IRB about adverse events and other unanticipated problems, seeking IRB approval for changes to personnel, protocol amendments, recruitment materials, etc., and informing the IRB when the research is complete.

Informed Consent

When the new regulations go into effect, changes will be required to the structure and content of informed consent documents.  Consent forms must begin with a concise summary of "key information" that is most likely to assist a prospective subject in understanding the reasons why one might or might not want to join the research.  This section must be organized in a way that facilitates understanding.  Additional guidance about this concise summary is forthcoming.   

There are also new requirements for additional consent elements related to the use of de-identified information, the use of biospecimens, potential for commercial profit and return of clinically-relevant results.  KUMC consent form templates will be updated to reflect these new elements.  The KUMC IRB will be applying these changes to all federally-funded/supported studies and to other studies involving greater than minimal risk.   

The 2018 regulations require that certain clinical trial consent forms be posted on a government website.  This requirement applies to studies that are conducted or supported by a federal agency. The posting must occur no more than 60 days after the last study visit by any subject.  The specific government website has not yet been named.   

Single IRB Review

Beginning January 25, 2018 all multi-center NIH-funded studies will be required to use single IRB review for the domestic sites.  Additional information is posted at: Single IRB review for studies conducted or supported by other federal agencies will be required starting in January 2020.    

Impact of the Changes on Ongoing Research

In most cases, ongoing research will remain under the pre-2018 regulations (those issued in 1991.)   The KUMC IRB will maintain two sets of Standard Operating Procedures.  Investigators are not required to make any changes to ongoing research.  The IRB will issue guidance on how to request transition to the new rules, if desired, and the circumstances where transition might be beneficial.  Investigators should be aware that transitioned studies might need additional IRB review and re-consenting of subjects.   Final determination on whether to transition an individual study is made by the IRB. 

eIRB System

The IRB's electronic submission system is being updated by the vendor to reflect the revised regulations.  Changes to the system are anticipated by mid-January.  Additional information on electronic IRB submissions will be posted on this page.    

Next Steps

Investigators should refer to this page for updates about the Revised Common Rule.  Updated application forms, standard operating procedures, templates and guidance are under development.  The Department of Health and Human Services has requested a delay in the implementation date, but as of December 8, 2017, a delay has not been granted.  Unless a delay occurs, the new rules will apply to human subjects research that is approved on or after January 19, 2018.  

Last modified: Aug 25, 2018