Situation

One of the United States’ most prestigious medical schools used a variety of software solutions to manage their studies and on-site biobank.  The biobank was using multiple applications to manage their specimens, and the resulting inefficiencies became a risk to productivity and data integrity.  The institution had recently implemented LabVantage 8 LIMS and hired CSols Inc. to implement the system’s biobanking module for their specimens and studies and to transform and migrate legacy data.

Objectives

The primary goal of this project was to increase the institution’s research effectiveness by centralizing biospecimen inventory and data into a single informatics system to increase researcher collaboration as well as data accuracy and accessibility.  CSols’s goal for the engagement was to accelerate the migration effort, as internal resources took about two months to migrate each study.

Challenges

  1. Lack of documentation for extant systems: the caTissue Suite biobanking solution did not offer any data structure or table relationship documentation, requiring CSols to develop tailored SQL extraction tools to standardize LabVantage 8 LIMS import scripts.
  2. Lack of available resources: the diffuse nature of academic research meant that SMEs had little time to meet with LabVantage or CSols experts
  3. Lack of knowledgeable resources: several data stewards had recently left the institution, leaving gaps in the understanding of both the data and the database structures

CSols’s Role in the Solution

  • Determined and documented the table definitions in the existing biobanking database
  • Developed standardized extraction SQL and transformation scripts for multiple legacy systems
  • Developed a standard LIMS data import application to reliably import data from the legacy systems into the new LIMS
  • Documented the migration process and trained client team members to independently support future migrations

Benefits

  • Decreased study data migration time from two months to two weeks
  • Reduced estimated time to migrate 10 studies and details and locations for over 100,000 specimens from nearly two years to less than six months
  • Increased data availability and quality through the migration and centralization of biospecimen data and information
  • Improved researcher efficiency by centralizing and standardizing biobank data
  • Reduced informatics footprint and related IT support costs
  • Maximized user adoption rate and user satisfaction rates for biobank data

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