Interview with OpenSpecimen Implementation Team at Washington University

In this episode of “Biobanking Conversations”, Srikanth Adiga (CEO, OpenSpecimen) talks to Dave Mulvihill and Lee Myrick from Washington University’s “OpenSpecimen Implementation Team” to understand their internal processes, training mechanisms, & best practices.

Washington University is one of the oldest and largest adopters of OpenSpecimen. At WU, OpenSpecimen is used by 100+ users across ~50 research groups, including the TPC and Alliance Trial.

Current OpenSpecimen adoption status 

WU uses OpenSpecimen as their “enterprise-wide” Biobanking LIMS. Some usage statistics:

  • 30 +groups with 90-100 unique users per month
  • ~200 active protocols across tissue procurement, cancer, and other diseases
  • More than 3 million.

How do they onboard a new group?

WU’s OpenSpecimen Implementation Team has created internal training materials for users to learn OpenSpecimen. This includes screen-recorded workflow and instructions on HIPAA training, navigating OpenSpecimen, instructions on what to do after training, getting PI approval to access actual data.

They have created four different types of OpenSpecimen training:

  1. Biobanker trainer – who will enter data into OpenSpecimen – protocols, containers, participants, visits, and specimens
  2. Queries training – for researchers
  3. Project training – who request specimens
  4. Import data training – common errors that, how to navigate


REDCap (provided by OpenSpecimen)

The REDCap integration is straightforward to do in OpenSpecimen. Go to REDCap, set up a project, and do mapping in OpenSpecimen of your REDCap events and OS events, then schedule it to run at whatever interval you want.  You dont need to be a super admin or have coding or programming experience to configure that.

Alliance Integration (Custom Developed using OpenSpecimen REST APIs)

WU has developed a custom integration for the Alliance trials using the OpenSpecimen APIs. This application allows the study coordinators from multiple sites to collect and ship specimens to WU TPC, and the information is synced with OpenSpecimen in real-time.

Full interview recording