Biobanking Inventory Software Evaluation
Rationale: Access to high quality human biospecimens and associated clinical data is essential to translational and clinical research programs. Effective and efficient use of human biospecimens is an important tenet of our role as community-entrusted stewards of these valuable resources. These points are reflective of the conclusions of the CTSI funded (2008-9) Tissue Task Force that engaged Huron Consulting as well as a recent 2011 audit of UCSF tissue banks by UCSF Audit Services.
It is estimated that UCSF currently maintains 50-200 biobanks – some of them program based (i.e. Cancer Center Tissue Core) and others are PI specific. However, many researchers remain unaware of the breadth and depth of biospecimens available on campus. Ready access to available inventories would improve utilization and enhance our stated role as community-entrusted stewards of these valuable resources. The UC BRAID Biobanking Work Group, comprised of representatives from all 5 UC academic medical centers, has also identified inventory access as critical for building a UC Regional Research Network across all 5 UC centers; this Network would improve Californians’ access to clinical trials and support critical biomedical research on a broad array of health issues. The largest access challenge is the variety of inventory software systems employed by the various banks. The extent of this diversity and barriers to sharing information is not clear currently. This proposal requests funds to: 1) Conduct a UC-wide assessment of the various inventories in use; 2) Identify the functional needs of each participating bank; 3) Evaluate the feasibility of a common interface that would allow biobanks to choose to share information while retaining their existing inventory software system (low-cost) or determine if broadly viewable inventories are only possible when using a common electronic tool (high-cost), and; 4) Understand biobankers perceived benefits and barriers to increasing researchers’ access to their biobank inventory. An additional benefit would be a comprehensive list of UCSF Biobanks available for researchers to place deposits.
Plan: A Program Manager, hired through the UCSF PMO, will be employed to facilitate this assessment. He/She would develop an assessment plan and interview UCSF biobank managers to establish current practices and inventory systems as well as to understand of the perceived benefits/barriers to increasing access to biorepositories. This will inform the process to engage Biobankers at the other UC campuses through UC BRAID. Additionally, information about the perceived benefits/barriers will help us to identify areas of concerns that must be addressed, and educational programs that may be developed, in order to create a system that will support greater sharing of biosamples at UCSF; this information can be used for similar purposes at other campuses as well. In addition, the survey will provide a definitive list of biobanks for deposits and withdrawals, and will facilitate integration of biobank inventories with clinical data from the Electronic Medical Record in the Enterprise Data Warehouse, currently under development.
Criteria and metrics for success: Deliverables from this project would include a list and description of all biobanks at UCSF including the availability of the specimens to the research community and identification of relevant information stored for each specimen; a technical assessment of each of the inventory software systems in use; and a compilation of identified benefits and barriers to opening access to inventories. This would facilitate the determination of a common interface for the inventories to better mine the data stored.
Project Total cost: $53,150. Request to CTSI: $50,000. The remainder of the project costs would come from Research Resource Program (RRP) funds.
Program Manager to set up the program, identify needed information, conduct Biobanker interviews and write up the assessment: 2.5 days/week for 6 months at $175/hour: $21,000
Program Staffer (Analyst II or III) to conduct Biobanker interviews and enter data into project database: 50% effort for 6 months $24,150 including benefits (base salary $69,000, median Analyst II salary)
Technical Assessment Staff: 2 weeks of technical assessment by programmer to determine potential inventory interfaces and provide recommendations: $100/hr x 80 hours = $8,000.
Collaborators: Cancer Center Translational Informatics, directed by Sorena Nadaf, has significant experience with software assessment for use on an enterprise level.
UC BRAID Biobanking Committee, chaired by Sarah Dry, UCLA, will provide insight into appropriate interview questions and UC-wide biobanking needs.
Commenting is closed.