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Human Subjects Division (HSD)

Quick Tips from HSD

How to use the new form: Use of Identifiable Biological Specimens/Data

Nov 30, 2012 at 12:00am

HSD has officially released the new form and guidance the Use of Identifiable Biological Specimens/Data. The form and guidance pertain to using identifiable data and/or specimens for research.  This application replaces the Medical Records Review form.

Last eNews we talked about when to use the new form - this time, let's look at how to use the PDF smart form.

The PDF is intended to guide you through the questions, hiding the questions that you don't need to answer, and revealing follow-up questions that you do.  This will save everyone time in skipping over empty boxes, and maybe save a few trees along the way.

Quick Tips is well aware that in some cases, the form is used as a communication tool between research coordinators, and researchers to fine tune their application, and make sure all the questions are answered appropriately. Word may have an advantage in "Track Changes," but PDF can accept comments.  The comment tools will take you back to the days when you turned in a paper and got it back full of red pen and sticky notes! (Or maybe that was just me...)

Here's how you do it:

  • Flatten the document by selecting "Print" and changing the printer to Adobe PDF.  You will want to save this flattened version with a different name if you are not done with the original form, as flattening is just like printing it to a piece of paper.  The fields will no longer be editable.
  • You will now be able to make all kinds of comments on the form using the commenting tools.
  • If you have the full version of Adobe Acrobat, you could even experiment with shared reviews, collaborating live, and track reviews.

See the Adobe website for more information: http://www.adobe.com/products/acrobat.html.

Before you say "Hey, is this just some Adobe endorsement?", know that Quick Tips finds somethings about PDF frustrating as well.  That's why we'll also be putting our a Word version of the Use of Identifiable Biological Specimens/Data form.

So check it out, and send Quick Tips an email if you find new and exciting ways to collaborate with PDF. We'd love to share them with the research community.