The State of Cloud-Based Biospecimen and Biobank Data Management Tools (BRIEF REPORT)

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Authors: Shonali Paul, Aditi Gade, and Sumani Mallipeddi

Journal: Biopreservation and Biobanking (BIO)
Volume 15, Number 2, 2017; Mary Ann Liebert, Inc.; DOI: 10.1089/bio.2017.0019

Abstract: Biobanks are critical for collecting and managing high-quality biospecimens from donors with appropriate clinical annotation. The high-quality human biospecimens and associated data are required to better understand disease processes. Therefore, biobanks have become an important and essential resource for healthcare research and drug discovery. However, collecting and managing huge volumes of data (biospecimens and associated clinical data) necessitate that biobanks use appropriate data management solutions that can keep pace with the ever-changing requirements of research. To automate biobank data management, biobanks have been investing in traditional Laboratory Information Management Systems (LIMS). However, there are a myriad of challenges faced by biobanks in acquiring traditional LIMS. Traditional LIMS are cost-intensive and often lack the flexibility to accommodate changes in data sources and workflows. Cloud technology is emerging as an alternative that provides the opportunity to small and medium-sized biobanks to automate their operations in a cost-effective manner, even without IT personnel. Cloud-based solutions offer the advantage of heightened security, rapid scalability, dynamic allocation of services, and can facilitate collaboration between different research groups by using a shared environment on a “pay-as-you-go” basis. The benefits offered by cloud technology have resulted in the development of cloud-based data management solutions as an alternative to traditional on-premise software. After evaluating the advantages offered by cloud technology, several biobanks have started adopting cloud-based tools. Cloud-based tools provide biobanks with easy access to biospecimen data for real-time sharing with clinicians. Another major benefit realized by biobanks by implementing cloud based applications is unlimited data storage in the cloud and automatic backups for protecting any data loss in the face of natural calamities.

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