Searchable Title

Public Health Ontario Risk Screening Tool 2.0. (appears in: A Risk Screening Tool for Ethical Appraisal of Evidence-Generating Initiatives.) Copyright: Creative Commons License.

Reference Type

Journal Article

Authors, Section

Ondrusek, N. K.; Willison, D. J.; Haroun, V.; Bell, J. A.; Bornbaum, C. C.

Title, Section

Public Health Ontario Risk Screening Tool 2.0. (appears in: A Risk Screening Tool for Ethical Appraisal of Evidence-Generating Initiatives.) Copyright: Creative Commons License.

Publication Year

2015

Journal Title

BMC Medical Ethics

Volume

16

Issue

2019-07-07

Pages

47

Availability

online

PMID

PMID: 26149410

DOI

10.1186/s12910-015-0039-3

Abstract

Full text in Additional File 1 on website. BACKGROUND: The boundaries between health-related research and practice have become blurred as initiatives traditionally considered to be practice (e.g., quality improvement, program evaluation) increasingly use the same methodology as research. Further, the application of different ethical requirements based on this distinction raises concerns because many initiatives commonly labelled as "non-research" are associated with risks to patients, participants, and other stakeholders, yet may not be subject to any ethical oversight. Accordingly, we sought to develop a tool to facilitate the systematic identification of risks to human participants and determination of risk level across a broad range of projects (e.g., clinical research, laboratory-based projects, population-based surveillance, and program evaluation) and health-related contexts. This paper describes the development of the Public Health Ontario (PHO) Risk Screening Tool. METHOD: Development of the PHO Risk Screening Tool included: (1) preparation of a draft risk tool (n = 47 items); (2) expert appraisal; (3) internal stakeholder validation; (4) external validation; (5) pilot testing and evalution of the draft tool; and (6) revision after 1 year of testing. RESULTS: A risk screening tool was generated consisting of 20 items organized into five risk domains: Sensitivity; Participant Selection, Recruitment and Consent; Data/Sample Collection; Identifiability and Privacy Risk; and Commercial Interests. The PHO Risk Screening Tool is an electronic tool, designed to identify potential project-associated risks to participants and communities and to determine what level of ethics review is required, if any. The tool features an easy to use checklist format that generates a risk score (0-3) associated with a suggested level of ethics review once all items have been completed. The final score is based on a threshold approach to ensure that the final score represents the highest level of risk identified in any of the domains of the tool. CONCLUSIONS: The PHO Risk Screening Tool offers a practical solution to the problem of how to maintain accountability and appropriate risk oversight that transcends the boundaries of research and practice. We hope that the PHO Risk Screening Tool will prove useful in minimizing the problems of over and under protection across a wide range of disciplines and jurisdictions.

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