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Research compliance virtual sessions: Innovation from necessity

David Staley ( is Research Compliance Officer and Hannah Hyland ( is Research Compliance Analyst at Children’s Hospital Colorado.

If there were ever a time when we needed to discover an innovative way to be virtually present with research teams, it would be precisely in the midst of the COVID-19 outbreak. In research compliance, we needed inspiration to create, innovate, and tackle the limits of being distant, particularly when regulatory agencies issued guidance so that research studies could continue to operate safely. Like so many times before, we sought inspiration from one of Aesop’s classical fables. This particular fable narrates the great intelligence of a crow who, fearing her demise, discovers a simple act that saved her life:

A thirsty crow found a pitcher with some water in it, but so little was there that, try as she might, she could not reach it with her beak, and it seemed as though she would die of thirst within sight of the remedy. At last she hit upon a clever plan. She began dropping pebbles into the pitcher, and with each pebble the water rose a little higher until at last it reached the brim, and the knowing bird was enabled to quench her thirst.[1]

The Research Compliance Office at Children’s Hospital Colorado (Children’s Colorado) had to shift its focus: We knew we had to create a virtual way to connect consistently with research teams. Our compliance livelihood depended on the actions we would take. Yes, that is somewhat dramatic, we admit, but nevertheless, it conveys the seriousness of the formidable obstacles we encountered. More specifically, we knew that we would need to bridge regulatory and compliance gaps during worrisome and challenging times, that we would want to solve problems alongside teams, and that we would want to inspire innovative thinking in compliance practices. After all, necessity becomes the mother of invention.

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