“As the first biobank in Sweden and the Nordics, we have taken a step closer to accreditation towards the international standard ISO 20387:2018. Quality Label is proof that we meet the requirements of the standard and thus obey the laws and regulations governing biobanking,” said Linda Paulson, Head of Unit Biobank West.
Quality-assured procedures increase research value
Biobank Väst monitors samples from the time the researcher sends them to the biobank until the samples are handed over for further analysis. The Quality Label distinction assures Biobank Väst’s staff and customers that the samples are processed using standardised and quality-assured procedures. For sample providers, it is a reassurance that samples and associated data are handled in accordance with existing laws governing biobanking.
“Quality-assured procedures for receipt, handling, storage, and retrieval increase the likelihood of obtaining high sample quality, thus increasing the research value of collected samples. This benefits clinical research which uses biobank samples. It also increases the opportunities for our customers and ourselves to participate in international collaborations with expectations of standardised quality assurance,” said Karina Lövstedt, Quality Manager at Biobank Väst.
The audit was carried out over two days at Biobank Väst in Gothenburg by Andrea Wutte, Head of Quality Management and Maike Tauchert, Quality Manager, on behalf of BBMRI-ERIC. Before and during the audit, the company’s quality documents were reviewed and an assessment was made of how well they correspond to the requirements of the biobank standard. The findings were summarized in a report which, together with a statement, was submitted to the biobank.
The final report stated that: “We are impressed by the structure and scope of the Quality Management System and congratulate the biobank management, the quality manager, and the entire team for this achievement. With this system, the tasks, processes, and procedures can be effectively and sustainably ensured, and they form the basis for any expansion and improvement of Biobank Väst.”
Strong National and International Cooperation
Biobank Väst at Sahlgrenska University Hospital is the biobank for the Västra Götaland region. The work at the biobank takes place in close collaboration with the University of Gothenburg. Biobank Väst is also part of the national biobank infrastructure Biobank Sweden, which is Sweden’s node in the European network BBMRI-ERIC. One of Biobank Väst’s assignments within Biobank Sweden focuses on the introduction of quality management according to ISO 20387:2018.
“The national work that we do together in the quality management project within Biobank Sweden has contributed to Biobank Väst achieving the Quality Label. The project creates awareness of how important it is that quality management issues are high on the agenda in our operations and serves as support for biobanks that work towards the goal of complying with the standard. Several biobanks in Sweden are close to being able to take the first step in the process of being approved according to the Quality Label. We wish that our award will encourage more biobanks to do the same work.” added Karina Lövstedt.
Kristina Lind, Laboratory and IT Team Manager at Biobank Väst highlighted how the regular dialogue Biobank Väst had with BBMRI-ERIC auditors during the assessment has been very valuable: “They have given us concrete tips on how we can improve our internal processes and the service to our customers. The good cooperation has also led to us planning in the coming year to submit an application for the Quality Label for our DNA extraction and liquid handling services.”
“We are very proud of the award from BBMRI-ERIC. It is recognition for all the fantastic and professional work that my employees at Biobank Väst perform every day. I would like to extend a special thanks to our Quality Manager Karina Lövstedt who has worked hard to ensure that we would meet the requirements for the Quality Label.” said Linda Paulson, Head of Unit at Biobank Väst.