Developing an electronic conflict-of-interest app

Developing an electronic conflict-of-interest app

Many faculty and staff are obligated to disclose potential conflicts of interest to internal and external authorities, and adhering to federal reporting requirements has become more time-consuming due to new regulations. 

In an effort to streamline this process, the Conflict of Interest in Research Office reached out to other university units responsible for complying with the reporting obligations. 

To standardize the process and reduce the administrative burden of filing the disclosures, a cross-departmental team developed a consolidated Electronic-Conflict-of-Interest Application, which they called eCOI for short. In just the first year, UI faculty and staff submitted almost 11,000 disclosures. 

eCOI wins IOWA Award

The eCOI won an Improving Our Workplace (IOWA) Award, designed to recognize UI employees who demonstrate initiative and innovation that has a positive impact in their workplace.

Members of the eCOI team were: Charlotte Talman of the Conflict of Interest in Research Office; Jose Jimenez, Gayle Elliott, and Ashok Vijayendra of Research Information Systems; Denise Krutzfeldt of UI Hospitals and Clinics’ Conflict of Interest Office; Diane Finnerty of the Provost’s Office; and Susan Zollo of the Continuing Medical Education Office.

Impressive cooperation

The award is well deserved, and I am thrilled that the group won,” says nominator Jim Walker, an associate vice president for research. “It’s a challenge to coordinate IT and personnel components of a project of this scope at a large institution. We were under a tight time frame, and I was impressed by how smoothly the team moved forward to create a consolidated system that meets diverse needs.”

Walker noted that the project could not have been successful without contributions from many other employees in Health Care Information Systems, ITS, and RIS.

2013 enhancements

In 2013, the eCOI application was enhanced and expanded to include the new Provost Office and Human Resources conflict-of-interest reporting policies. The new enhancements are ready for the 2014 reporting cycle.