Below is a list of frequently asked questions we receive from about research and quality improvement projects. If you have a question that cannot be answered below, contact us for help.
Research: Research is a systematic investigation, including development, testing, and evaluation designed to test novel hypotheses and develop or contribute to scientific knowledge.
Quality Improvement: Quality Improvement (QI) is a systematic, cyclical process that evaluates how an organization works and how to improve its processes. QI projects involve identifying and describing workflows or other organizational processes, developing a methodological plan for collecting data or proposing an intervention, and evaluating the outcomes in order to learn, implement, and revise solutions.
Research projects often involve human-subjects components, where patients or patient data may be used to evaluate the project hypothesis. Research projects also typically have a larger scope or are being conducted with the intent of publishing or presenting publicly. A formal assessment and review of study details helps us protect our patients and their data adequately, and it allows us to have a more stringent oversight of timelines and methodology, as they may directly impact our patients’ security and wellbeing. QI projects, on the other hand, are internal assessments and improvements of workflows, and there is rarely a direct risk to patients or their data.
Yes, due to COVID-19 and our efforts towards vaccination, our clinical teams do not have the same capacity to participate in research as they have had in the past. Therefore, we are requiring that clinical research projects be relatively small and extremely feasible, and, preferably, have a clinical PI or other North Country stakeholder involved or consulted during the design phase. If your project involves impractical or burdensome components for our clinical staff or clinical resources, North Country may simply deny supporting the project.
A vetted QI project is one that has been rudimentarily designed and approved by our Continuous Quality Improvement (CQI) Committee. This means that a project topic, scope, timelines, and outcomes have been selected, along with a contact individual and/or preceptor who can help guide the project and be involved throughout the process. These projects are designed to address one of our highest priority areas for improvement and are preferred QI projects that North Country would like to see being conducted. An unvetted QI project is simply a project that has not undergone this process by our CQI Committee. While this does not mean that unvetted QI projects won’t be supported, we would prefer these to be relatively small in scope so as not to take away staff time or resources from projects that address high priority areas.
For research projects, there are deadlines that need to be adhered to, and the research application deadline calendar outlines these specific dates for monthly review. There are no application deadlines for QI projects.
At the very minimum, just the completed and detailed application is required for it to be formally reviewed. Depending on the type of project you are proposing, you may also need to provide documentation of approval or exemption from an IRB.
Please complete the rotation inquiry form and select “Research & Quality Improvement” from the program list.