Biobanking is the practice of storing biological samples for use in future research. Data associated with these samples (e.g. clinical, demographic, etc.) is of critical importance to providing biological, medical and operational context and is necessary for any specimen to have value and usefulness in research.
The Cancer Institute NSW Biobanking Stakeholders Network (BSN) is tasked with addressing challenges faced by over 20 cancer biobanks across NSW. Amongst these are challenges in linking data across (and beyond) the network, which is required to gain maximal benefit from the biobanking approach by identifying as many relevant samples that could be used in a research study.
In the BSN, this situation has arisen through the independent establishment of each biobank, which in turn has led to many different software systems being implemented and differing information aspects being collected across the network.
In order to gain an understanding of both the IT landscape and the clinical and sample information collected across the BSN, Intersect was commissioned by Associate Professor Kevin Spring, Centre for Oncology Education & Research Translation (CONCERT) to review the IT systems and associated operational procedures and levels of information harmonisation in use across the BSN, and to recommend IT approaches and solutions that could be adopted by the BSN to aid in information exchange.