OpenSpecimen configurability

This article highlights OpenSpecimen’s high degree of “configurability” to serve different types of biobanking workflows.

Biobanking is a very dynamic and diverse field where a “one size fits all” approach does not work. Biospecimens could be collected for disease based biobanks (e.g. cancer biobank, orthopedic biobank, etc) or for a longitudinal clinical study or trial. Each study or disease has its own data collection needs making the whole process much more complicated.

Therefore the biobanking informatics platform has to be very flexible to support these different types of workflows and data collection needs.

Disease based (ad-hoc) collections

These are left over biospecimens after patient care collected for prospective use. Typically there are no “planned events” for participant visits here, e.g. pre-operation, operation, post-operation, etc.

OpenSpecimen lets you create “highly customised” data entry screens for such ad-hoc collections. The screens can be customised to support:

  1. Single specimen data entry screen
  2. Deposit specimens in a batch (i.e. create multiple specimens in one go)

Specimen centric vs Participant centric collections

OpenSpecimen by default expects participant details (e.g., identifiers, demographics, etc). However, often biobanks only collect a deidentified participant ID or sometimes does not collect any information of the participant.

OpenSpecimen allows you to configure each study based on these requirements. Within a single instance of OpenSpecimen, every collection protocols can be configured differently, i.e. one protocol can be specimen centric whereas another protocol can be participant centric.

Longitudinal collections (multi-site clinical study or trial)

Longitudinal studies have a collection calendar i.e. day 0, day 30, day 45, etc. Each day has specific primary samples collected from the participant and sent to the biobank. The biobank staff process the samples and create aliquots etc and store them in the freezers. This process can get complicated if it involves multiple sites, pre-printing of labels and managing collection kits.

OpenSpecimen provides the following features:

  1. Complete calendar of collection
  2. Label and barcode pre-printing
  3. Bulk pre-registration of participants
  4. Dispatching collection kits to receiving centers
  5. Integration with box scanner

Rapid data entry (barcode based)

In high throughput collections, based on barcoded tubes, OpenSpecimen allows you to configure “box layouts” and box scanner integration. This allows you to collect specimens for one or more patients at once by scanning a box of samples at one go.


New workflows are identified as OpenSpecimen is adopted in more and more biobanks. Instead of “customizing” OpenSpecimen for each biobank, Krishagni has been enhancing the “configurability” of OpenSpecimen to support these new use cases. This development approach has resulted in OpenSpecimen becoming a highly powerful and flexible informatics platform capable of satisfying any kind of biospecimen collection needs. This can evidenced by widespread adoption of OpenSpecimen; today 60+ biobanks across 15 countries use OpenSpecimen.

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