The vast majority of research protocols are reviewed through an expedited process. For IRB purposes, the term "expedited" refers to the process, not a timeline. Proposed research that poses no more than minimal risk to participants (i.e. no more than the risks that participants would encounter is their daily lives) can be reviewed by one or more IRB members and generally does not have to go to the full board for review.
When proposed research is determined to qualify for expedited review, the HSPP staff will assign one or more IRB reviewers to read and evaluate the submission materials. Each reviewer determines whether the research protocol requires minor or major modifications and subsequent review or if the protocol can be approved as is. Individual IRB members, including the Chair, cannot disapprove a proposed study and, if those concerns arise, the study would be assigned to the next convened board meeting. Each expedited reviewer returns his/her determination to the HSPP staff who will post a letter of determination to the Principal Investigator in IRBNet. This "round" of the review process typically takes a week to 10 days. However, given the complexity of the research and any concerns that arise in the review process, studies can go through several "rounds" of expedited review before receiving an approval.
Please be advised that the quality and clarity of the submission materials greatly impact the IRB reviewer's ability to assess risks to participants and to make a determination in a timely manner. Poorly crafted research protocols and supporting materials will delay the process regardless of whether the study is reviewed by one or all IRB members. Please refer to the Investigator Manual and guidance information on navigating the IRB review process and frequently asked questions for tips on submitting complete and consistent materials.