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Complex problems? UBI team offers custom solutions

What do you do when you’re responsible for assuring compliance on a very important point, but you don’t have access to the data you need in order to check for compliance? This was the problem research administrators across UVA were faced with: charged with helping to ensure that research faculty are in compliance with UVA policy regarding conflict of interest training, administrators found there was no easy way to check.

Some administrators weren’t able to see the data on who had done the training, and some weren’t able to access data on who had disclosed a possible conflict of interest. In effect, there was no simple way for the research administrators to check on who had completed the training vs. who needed to complete the training.

Because non-compliance with conflict of interest puts UVA at considerable risk, this was a pretty sizable problem.

Fortunately, the team from University Business Intelligence has a variety of tools in their toolkit, and they were happy to sit down with Kelly Hochstetler from Outreach and Compliance, as well as Cheryl Wagner from the Office of the Vice President for Research, to tackle the problem and come up with a custom-built solution.

Kelly Hochstetler of Finance Outreach and Compliance
Kelly Hochstetler of Finance Outreach and Compliance

“The UBI team provided us with a lot of options on how we could approach this challenge, as well as different ways we could present the data,” said Hochstetler.

In the end, the UBI team took all the necessary information from many different departments and married it together so that research administrators could easily cross-check the training status of their faculty.

The custom solution they built will be released in UBI on August 18, and will allows users to log in and quickly assess which of their investigators are compliant.

“This tool allows us to be more proactive managing compliance,” said Hochstetler.

“Now, we can ask the research administrators to check the status of their investigators as they process proposals – no surprises later!”

Users of the custom solution will also be able to see the date the investigator's patent policy was signed.


This story originally ran in the August 11, 2017 edition of the UVA Finance Blog.