The process of biobanking is improving at an extremely rapid rate. More biological samples are being collected, allowing biobanks around the world to generate larger data sets of a higher quality. In turn, the global biobanking market is quickly expanding as well: Precedence Research expects it to reach over $115.4 billion in value by the end of the decade.
Today’s Digital Age is a great time for biobanks to improve at this rate as modern technologies like automation, data analytics, and telehealth are readily available. Biobanks that use them to their fullest potential can easily create a domino effect that allows for improved patient care. Here’s how.
Reducing costs with automation
Ideally, the samples stored in biobanks should last for decades. This makes it progressively harder to collect, process, store, preserve, and distribute samples as a biobank’s cache increases. Automated biostorage systems are powered by artificial intelligence (AI), meaning they can work on their own without human input.
Such systems ensure that consistent attention to detail is paid to every manual, repetitive task. Automation can further improve the traceability, retrieval speed, and delivery speed of samples so researchers get them when they need them. GSK researcher Pushpanathan Muthuirulan adds that it can do all that while handling a large number of tasks in a way that keeps them free from human error. Automation can thus significantly lower a biobank’s operational and delivery costs.
SPT Labtech is one research equipment provider that offers automated biostorage systems for an array of samples. Their offerings, ranging from protein and plasma to bioparts, only prove how versatile automated systems can be in biobanking.
Improving research with data analytics
The rapid growth of biobanks today can also make it more difficult for researchers to analyze samples using traditional means. Researchers now need to use advanced tools to glean more valuable insights from biobanks. This is where data analytics comes in.
Much like automated tools, data analytics uses AI to examine and analyze samples quicker and more accurately than both humans and traditional analytics tools. Some even use the more advanced subset of AI known as machine learning, which can conduct predictive analytics.
Researchers who marry biobank samples with predictive analytics can not only detect patterns but predict future ones, as well. We previously reported that AMRA scientists pulled this off by using samples from the UK Biobank in 2019. With just 10,000 images, they were able to predict an individual’s likelihood of developing coronary heart disease and Type 2 diabetes.
Boosting access and convenience with telehealth
As high-quality biobanks work together with automation and data analytics, the benefits of reduced costs and improved research outcomes cascade down to healthcare’s end customer: the patient.
Yet when combined with telehealth, a sort of synergy is formed that can further enhance patient care. Patients are beginning to see the benefits in telehealth and healthcare providers as being a more affordable, more convenient, and a much more personalized healthcare option. These benefits are only further amplified for healthcare companies that already make use of biobank-powered research in patient care.
One standout in this regard is telehealth provider Wheel. Wheel helps companies by providing them access to a vast network of clinicians that cover diverse treatment areas — as well as opportunities for collaboration with different healthcare companies. This improves an important part of patient care in a time when people are looking for more convenient and accessible healthcare.
Biobanking is flourishing at a time when modern technological advancements can help it improve even further. Their collaborations are creating new techniques — techniques that the World Economic Forum believes can revolutionize universal health. It’s thus clear that the domino effect these collaborations create can only help improve patient care in the long run.
Author: MELINDA ROWE is a freelance writer who specializes in writing about the intersection of modern technology with healthcare. In her free time, you’ll find her listening to audiobooks as she experiments with new recipes in the kitchen.