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Public Health Genomics. 2012;15(5):254-62. doi: 10.1159/000336663. Epub 2012 Jun 20.

IT solutions for privacy protection in biobanking.

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Department of Informatics Systems, University of Klagenfurt, Klagenfurt, Austria.


Biobanks containing human biological samples and associated data are key resources for the advancement of medical research. Efficient access to samples and data increases competitiveness in medical research, reduces effort and time for achieving scientific results and promotes scientific progress. In order to address upcoming health challenges, there is increasing need for transnational collaboration. This requires innovative solutions improving interoperability of biobanks in fields such as sample and data management as well as governance including ethical and legal frameworks. In this context, rights and expectations of donors to determine the usage of their biological material and data and to ensure their privacy have to be observed. We discuss the benefits of biobanks, the needs to support medical research and the societal demands and regulations, in particular, securing the rights of donors and present IT solutions that allow both to maintain the security of personal data and to increase the efficiency of access to data in biobanks. Disclosure filters are discussed as a strategy to combine European public expectations concerning informed consent with the requirements of biobank research.

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