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NIH Starts Pilot for Electronic Conflict of Interest Reports

NEW YORK (GenomeWeb News) – The National Institutes of Health is launching a pilot program that will allow some awardees to submit financial conflict-of-interest reports electronically.
In the pilot phase, the electronic submission option is open to members of the Federal Demonstration Project, a program aimed at improving government processes and developing ‘e-government’ protocols.
The new FCOI Module will allow users to initiate and prepare FCOI reports, submit reports and supporting documents, search and view FCOI reports previously submitted, edit or rescind submitted reports with NIH involvement, and access a history of actions.
As of October 10, when the program begins, investigators will be able to submit the reports through NIH’s electronic Research Administration Commons, an online interface that allows grantees and staff to share information. Currently, grantees submit these reports to the Chief Grants Management Officer at the NIH awarding component.
This FCOI module was developed with feedback from a small-scale pilot test conducted in the summer of 2008 with nine Commons Working Group institutions
NIH agreed earlier this year with the US Department of Health and Human Services to require its Office of Extramural Research to receive and file all COI reports from grantees, to enhance its oversight policies, and to develop new tools for reporting conflicts.
The Office of the Inspector General at HHS reported early in 2008 that NIH was unable to provide an accurate accounting of how many financial conflicts of interest its extramural grantees reported between 2004 and 2006. NIH also was unable to describe what types of financial conflicts were reported during that same period.
More information about the pilot program is available here.

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