Inter-Biobank Visits Scheme

The Inter-Biobank Visits Scheme is designed to encourage discussion and address differences in processes between the Consortium member tissue banks. Staff at one site nominate areas of interest in the biobanking process that they want to improve and are then allocated a day at one of our other collection sites.

“Getting a tour of the histology lab at Cabrini and learning about how the lab runs, provided me with some ideas to then pass on to our Histology lab.”
Katie-Lee Alexander, Medical Scientist at Barwon Health

This scheme is open to all members of the Consortium, from data managers, scientists and facility managers. Some of the areas of interest included blood and tissue processing, interpretation of pathology results, data entry, specimen storage, and management procedures.

One key component is the mandatory completion of a visit feedback form (see Fig.1) that is returned to the Quality and Training Manager, detailing benefits and differences experienced during the visit. Advantages have included the identification of parts of the SOPs that need to be updated or improved as well as the earmarking of areas where additional training is required.

“Since visiting Barwon Health, Cabrini Health Tissue Bank has implemented a similar paperwork workflow, and has revised their paperwork storage system, as well as implementing an emergency standard operating procedure for our -80 Freezer, as observed at Barwon Health.” 
Lisa McPhail, Tissue Bank Medical Scientist at Cabrini Health

Most of the sites are located across metropolitan Melbourne, which spans a 50-kilometre distance, with one site in a large regional centre located 100 kilometres away. This means that staff will usually interact by phone or email, only occasionally meeting at centralised workshops. The visits provide the new experience of working together and sharing skills and experiences.

Positive feedback has been received from all those who have participated in the scheme. They expressed a greater sense of ownership of their role and felt valued as members of a larger the group.

“Overall the whole process was very worthwhile... As a manager it has given me fresh ideas on workflows, which can be discussed at the future Tissue Bank Managers Advisory Group meetings.” 
Matthew Chapman, Tissue Bank Manager at Melbourne Health

Due to the success of the scheme, visits are now an ongoing exercise. The scheme will ensure uniformity and consistency in biospecimen collection and processing methodologies as they continue to change and evolve across member sites.