Biobanks and health records

Biobanks and health records

The rise of biobanks together with modern technologies has enabled the analysis of large collections of medical data. Biobanks are becoming a more common way to store big data collections of samples taken from humans with the appropriate consent from the donor and relevant health data. Scientists are able to conduct large-scale investigations based on the clinical status of patients and the related biomedical samples. Growing interest for the usage of biobanks in both research and commercial health applications has been estimated. The STM (Ministry of Health and Social Affairs) has initialized a national work on describing the overall architecture for biobanks in Finland. The purpose is to describe the overall operational environment as well as to define requirements for efficient operation. In the overall biobank framework there exists a definite need for finding new technological solutions to support the management of data as well to ensure security and privacy.

In INKA Digital Biobanks project, started in 2015, the aim is to design an architecture supporting biobank operation.  The work is done in close relation with other established biobanks in Finland, especially Northern Finland Biobank Borealis, through parallel projects as well as through BBMRI (Biobanking and Biomolecular Resources Research Infrastructure) work. In the ongoing project the accompanying network of biobanks have purchased whole slide scanners, which are to be integrated to the overall operation workflow in the hospitals. The scanners are utilized to digitalize pathology samples. Digitalized information along with other sample information, and information collected from hospital information systems are managed to obtain a rich database of information for research and business (Figure 14). The task of maintaining both the privacy of the subjects and the usefulness of the data is not a trivial one. Our team has studied the application of cryptography for patient data anonymization. Moreover, the samples of pathology provide a challenging field of study for pattern recognition and machine vision, where several use cases have been defined together with the Northern Finland Biobank Borealis, PPSHP personnel and parallel project network.

Last updated: 21.11.2016