The potential benefits of inviting the Collaborative to an in-progress consultation include gaining additional expertise and multiple perspectives on complex ethical questions. Similarly, members benefit from hearing the issues coming through other consultation services and sharing information and experiences about their clinical research ethics consultations.
The primary consultant can follow these steps:
Before the Call
Obtain permission from the consult requestor, and provide the requestor with two PDFs:
Explain that the collaborative consultants have agreed that they will not share any details without the requestor’s permission. We recommend that you exclude any highly sensitive information from the group discussion.
Contact the Collaborative via the listserv to gauge interest and availability prior to scheduling and provide the group with the following information:
Date, time, and duration of consultation.
A brief description of the reason for the consultation.
After your introductory remarks, do a roll call of the consultants you expect to be on the call. At the end, ask if anyone else is on the call and ask them to introduce themselves.
Ask the consult requestor to present the case.
After the case is presented, ask any clarifying questions.
Ask collaborative consultants if they any clarifying questions.
Discuss issues with requestor.
Ask collaborative consultants if they have additional comments.
Develop recommendations with requestor and summarize.
Ask collaborative consultants if they have any final comments.
After the Call
Send consult report draft to those who participated for review and include a reply-by date.
Consider any comments from the other consultants to be advisory. You remain responsible for the content of the consult. In essence, the collaborative group is advising, but you are responsible for the content that is communicated back to the consult requestor.
Send requestor final report.
Email final report to collaborative consultants who participated in the call.
Send out evaluation to requestor and collaborative consultants who participated in the call.
Hold your questions and comments until invited by the primary consultant to share, allowing the primary consultant the opportunity to obtain the relevant information in a more straightforward and conversational manner.
Once invited to actively participate, introduce yourself by name before asking clarifying questions or contributing your thoughts and opinions.
After the Call
Send any questions or comments that remain after the consultation to the primary consultant via email.
Do not share any details of the consultation unless permitted to do so by the consult requestor. Issues of confidentiality and reporting disclosures are the responsibility of the primary consultant.
If invited to review a draft consultation report, respond in a timely fashion. The primary consultant will provide a reply-by date when the report is circulated.
Confidentiality, Reporting, and Liability
Collaborative consultants are expected to keep the details of the discussion confidential.
Each consult service has its own guidelines for limits of confidentiality and reporting obligations. Those outside of the initiating institution are expected to not make disclosures to the requestor’s institution or to their own.
Many consult services have clarified with their institution that consultation is part of their official duties and covered under their standard liability protections. If you have any concerns about uncovered liability by offering advice to another consultant group, you should follow up with your institution’s officials.