Skip Navigation and Go To Content

Expedited Review


Research is reviewed by CPHS at convened meetings unless it is minimal risk and qualifies for expedited review. An expedited review procedure consists of a review of research involving human subjects by the IRB chair or by one or more experienced reviewers designated by the chair from among the IRB membership who have received training relative to the expedited review categories.

CPHS may use the expedited review procedure to review the following research appearing on the categories of review list below. A study is presumed to be minimal risk if it falls under a category on the list below. If a reviewer determines that the study involves more than minimal risk, the rationale for the determination must be documented.

To qualify for review by expedited process, a research proposal must meet the following criteria:

  1. The research proposal presents no more than minimal risk to human subjects,
  2. Identification of subjects and / or their responses does not reasonably place them at risk of criminal or civil liability or be damaging to their financial standing, employability, insurability, reputation, or be stigmatizing, unless reasonable and appropriate protections will be implemented so that risks related to invasion of privacy and breach of confidentiality are no greater than minimal,
  3. The research is not classified, and
  4. The research activity is listed in the categories of review below.

Categories of Expedited Review

Category 1: Clinical studies of drugs and medical devices only when condition (a) or (b) is met.

  1. Research on drugs for which an investigational new drug application is not required. (Note: Research on marketed drugs that significantly increase the risks or decreases the acceptability of the risks associated with the use of the product is not eligible for expedited review.)
  2. Research on medical devices for which;
    1. An investigational device exemption application is not required; or
    2. The medical device is cleared/approved for marketing and the medical device is being used in accordance with its cleared/approved labeling.

Category 2: Collection of blood samples by finger stick, heel stick, ear stick, or venipuncture as follows:

  1. From healthy, non-pregnant adults who weigh at least 50 kg. For these participants, the amounts drawn may not exceed 550 ml in an 8 week period and collection may not occur more frequently than 2 times per week; or
  2. From other adults and children, considering the age, weight and health of the participants, the collection procedure, the amount of blood to be collected, and the frequency with which it will be collected. For these participants, the amount drawn may not exceed the lesser of 50 ml or 3 ml per kg in an 8 week period and collection may not occur more frequently than 2 times per week.

Category 3: Prospective collection of biological specimens for research purposes by noninvasive means. Examples include:

  1. Hair and nail clippings in a non-disfiguring manner;
  2. Deciduous teeth at time of exfoliation or if routine patient care indicates a need for extraction;
  3. Permanent teeth if routine patient care indicates a need for extraction;
  4. Excreta and external secretions (including sweat);
  5. Uncannulated saliva collected either in an unstimulated fashion or stimulated by chewing gumbase or wax or by applying a dilute citric solution to the tongue;
  6. Placenta removed at delivery;
  7. Amniotic fluid obtained at the time of rupture of the membrane prior to or during labor;
  8. Supra- and sub-gingival dental plaque and calculus, provided the collection procedure is not more invasive than routine prophylactic scaling of the teeth and the process is accomplished in accordance with accepted prophylactic techniques;
  9. Mucosal and skin cells collected by buccal scraping or swab, skin swab, or mouth washings;
  10. Sputum collected after saline mist nebulization;

Category 4: Collection of data through noninvasive procedures (not involving general anesthesia or sedation) routinely employed in clinical practice, excluding procedures involving x-rays or microwaves.  Where medical devices are employed, they must be cleared/approved for marketing. (Studies intended to evaluate the safety and effectiveness of the medical device are not generally eligible for expedited review, including studies of cleared medical devices for new indications).

  1. Physical sensors that are applied either to the surface of the body or at a distance and do not involve input of significant amounts of energy into the participant or an invasion of the participant’s privacy.
  2. Weighing or testing sensory acuity.
  3. Magnetic resonance imaging.
  4. Electrocardiography, electroencephalography, thermography, detection of naturally occurring radioactivity, electroretinography, ultrasound, diagnostic infrared imaging, Doppler blood flow, and echocardiography.
  5. Moderate exercise, muscular strength testing, body composition assessment, and flexibility testing where appropriate, given the age, weight, and health of the individual.

Category 5: Research involving materials (data, documents, records, or specimens) that have been collected or will be collected solely for non-research purposes (such as medical treatment or diagnosis).

Category 6: Collection of data from voice, video, digital, or image recordings made for research purposes.

Category 7: Research on individual or group characteristics or behavior (including, but not limited to, research on perception, cognition, motivation, identity, language, communication, cultural beliefs or practices and social behavior) or research employing survey, interview, oral history, focus groups, program evaluation, or quality assurance methodologies.

Category 8: Continuing review of research previously approved by the convened IRB:

  1. where the research is permanently closed to the enrollment of new subjects and one of the following:
    1. Only research activity that remains is accessing follow-up clinical data from procedures that subjects would undergo as part of clinical care
    2. All remaining research specific activities are eligible for review by expedited procedure;
    3. Only research activity that remains is data analysis, including analysis of identifiable private information or identifiable biospecimens.
  2. where no subjects have been enrolled at this site and no additional risks have been identified.

Category 9: The research is not conducted under an investigational new drug application or investigational device exemption where Categories 2 through Category 8 do not apply, but the CPHS has determined and documented at a convened meeting that the research involves no greater than minimal risk and no additional risks have been identified, then future reviews may be conducted via the expedited process.

Category 10: Research not federally funded or supported that involves no greater than minimal risk but involves activities that do not fall under category 1-8 above.

Key Terms

Minimal risk - Minimal risk means that the probability and magnitude of harm or discomfort anticipated in the research are not greater in and of themselves than those ordinarily encountered in daily life or during the performance of routine physical or psychological examinations or tests.


Submission for Expedited Review: The iRIS system assigns an IRB tracking number to the submission. IRB staff review the submission to ensure that the information provided is complete. If the submission if not complete, IRB staff return the submission to the Principal Investigator for additional information.

IRB staff assess the research proposal and determine if it qualifies for expedited review. When it is difficult to determine whether a protocol qualifies for review using the expedited procedure, the IRB staff will consult with the IRB director. When in doubt, the proposal is assigned for full board review.

Documents to be submitted for expedited review are the same as those for review by a convened IRB as outlined in CPHS policy and procedure, Initial Review.

Expedited Review Process: IRB staff screen the submission and determines if the research proposal qualifies for expedited review. If IRB staff determines that the proposal does not qualify for expedited review, the proposal will be referred for review by a convened IRB. If the IRB staff determines that the proposal qualifies for expedited review, the IRB staff will assign the proposal to a reviewer through iRIS.

Members who have at least one-year experience as an IRB member are considered automatically designated by the IRB chair as members who may be assigned as expedited reviewers.

The reviewer has access to all protocol related documents via iRIS. The reviewer shall follow the same process, the criteria for approval, as the initial review process outlined in policy and procedure Initial Review. In addition, the reviewer will evaluate whether the proposal meets the applicability criteria for expedited review and determine the expedited category for the research proposal. If the reviewer has a conflict of interest, per the policy and procedure, Conflict of Interest for CPHS members and Consultants, the reviewer will disclose the conflict and the IRB staff will reassign the proposal to another reviewer.

Possible Outcomes of Review: In reviewing the research, the reviewer may approve, approve pending or defer. The reviewer may not disapprove the research proposal. If the reviewer has concerns about the research proposal, the reviewer may request a second reviewer, scientific review, a consultant or refer the research proposal to the full board for further review.

When reviewer recommends approval or approval pending, the reviewer also determines the approval period as outlined in the policy and procedure Initial Review. IRB staff will convey the decisions and stipulations as per policy and procedure on Initial Review.

Documentation: IRB staff will ensure that the following information is documented when a submission is approved by the expedited process:

  1. The specific permissible category;
  2. A description of the review;
  3. A description of action taken by the reviewer;
  4. For those requiring protocol specific determinations:
    1. The determination
    2. Protocol specific findings that justify the determination 

Notification to the CPHS: When a proposal is approved by expedited review, all the members of the IRB panel will be notified of the actions taken via expedited review at the next convened meeting. The IRB staff will include a list of the expedited approvals that were reviewed and approved on the next meeting agenda.n 

Applicable Regulations:

  1. 45 CFR 46 Protection of Human Subjects
  2. 21 CFR 56 Institutional Review Board
  3. OHRP Expedited Review Category
  4. FDA - Categories of Research that may be Reviewed through an Expedited Procedure

Reference to Other Policies:

  1. Initial Review
  2. Conflict of Interest – CPHS Members and Consultants


  1. Initial Application Form
  2. Continuing Review Form

If you find errors in this document, contact

Document Number:


Document Name:

Expedited Review

Reviewed by:

Executive Director, Research Compliance


1 Aug 2008

Revision History:

1 Jan 2009, 1 Aug 2011, 1 Jun 2016, 19 Jan 2018, 1 Jun 2021

CPHS HELPLINE   713-500-7943
iRIS HELPLINE    713-500-7960
UTHealth’s Compliance Hotline (1-888-472-9868)

IRB OFFICE HOURS Thursdays from 1 to 4pm, via the Teams Room at this link

How can we improve this site?

Committee for the Protection of Human Subjects
7000 Fannin St, Suite 1840
Houston, Texas 77030

Phone 713-500-7943
Fax     713-500-7951

IRIS Support 713-500-7960

aahrpp logo