Most of the clinical biobanks comprise IT-supported storage systems of biological material and corresponding data from basic information to meta-data and visualization. Software solutions need to be as highly dynamic as the interdisciplinary clinical biobanks. The available state-of-the-art hardware and software technologies are changing in high velocity, as do the requirements, existing standards, work processes, data sources, and sample types. To face the upcoming biobanking IT essentials, development of an integrated, flexible, easy to use and adaptable software environment is inevitable for Biobank Graz: a software environment with lowest common denominator as a basis.
At Biobank Graz more than 20 commercially available “biobank integrated software systems” and “biobank lab information system” tools were evaluated regarding purchase, installation and usage in a clinical environment. None of these tools was applicable to Biobank Graz regarding diversity of samples and storage systems (sample input), number of projects (sample output), data security and safety in the clinical setting (incl. interfaces).
Therefore, a local, innovative approach was chosen: self-developed software in a framework that handles different databases and interfaces. Here, databases can be created individually as a standalone interface and assembled within a framework. Recreation of the whole system is not required when changing data sources, working processes etc. It allows gathering different databases from different database providers or using other data storage formats.
Such frameworks are widely used, but not in biobanking sciences. Hence, the implementation in a biobank environment promises an unproblematic handling of unpredictable events, at least on the IT level.