The Human Research Ethics Committee (HREC) review exemptions and quality assurance (QA) activities that don't need to go through the full ethics review process.
The National Health and Medical Research Council describes the difference between research activities, quality assurance activities and research exemption.
Read more in the Ethical considerations in quality assurance and evaluation activities.
This process is for projects seeking to improve health service delivery and improving patient and population outcomes. Projects that usually fall under this category assess how efficient a service is.
This may include assessing practices against a procedure, standard or guideline or it may be to identify gaps in a service. Some consumer and staff survey project work can also be applied for.
Publishing your findings
If you apply using this process, you'll be able to publish your findings externally to Queensland Health. Confidential patient information and all data must be aggregated and completely unidentifiable at the time of publication.
If your Queensland Health project includes images of staff or patients in a publication or presentation, you’ll also need to show you have their consent.
The application process
Step 1. Design your research protocol
Design your research protocol first as you'll need to submit this with your application.
Your research protocol will include details on:
- the activities you plan to include in the project
- evidence from other research that supports these activities
- your preliminary investigations that support these activities
- your timelines
- how you plan to deal with potential problems.
Use our protocol template (DOC, 44KB).
Step 2. Complete your application forms
You need to complete an application form for each hospital and health service site of your project.
If your activity takes place in both the Cairns and Hinterland and Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Services, you'll need to complete both application forms.
This is a local requirement. Please submit this document as part of your application.
- Cairns and Hinterland Hospital and Health Service Quality Assurance Application Form (DOCX, 261KB)
- Torres and Cape Hospital and Health Service Quality Assurance Application Form (PDF, 466KB)
Step 3. Prepare your supporting documents
You'll need to submit the following documents for QA activity approval using the Ethical Review Manager (ERM) online platform .
The Quality Assurance Information Sheet (PDF, 210KB) will help you keep track of the documents you need for your application.
- Cover letter
- QA application form – this is a local HHS specific form
- QLD Exemption Form (QA application form) - generated in ERM
- Research protocol or study plan
- Data collection tool or list of data variables embedded into your research protocol or study plan
- Abridged CV for each team member
You only need to provide this information if it's relevant to your project.
- Participant Information Sheet and Consent Form (DOC, 51KB)
- Email from the data custodian advising if there are costs associated with your project and if the information you’re hoping to analyse is available — if you need access to confidential patient information
Step 3. Submit your application
- Submit your application in the ERM using the QA Exemption form
- Send a hard copy of your application to the HREC Coordinator
- Email a copy of your application to FNQ_HREC@health.qld.gov.au
Read the ERM how-to guides.
The review time frame for QA activity applications is about one week and largely depends on the Chair availability to review your application.
Once you’ve submitted your application and the QLD Exemption Form in the ERM, you’ll get an email letting you know the outcome. You can use this email and any attachments to publish information about your project external to Queensland Health.
If you’re not planning on publishing the results of your project externally to Queensland Health, you don’t need to apply using the ERM. You can register your quality assurance activity with the Patient Quality and Safety Team by emailing CHHHS_Quality@health.qld.gov.au.