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Although the mapping of the human genome has allowed researchers to integrate genomic data with demographic and life-style data for use in epidemiologic studies, the problem of merging and accessing data that originate in heterogeneous sources is yet to be overcome. In this paper we describe Biobank Information Management System (BIMS), a system designed to integrate data from various research studies in which data formats and data collection methods vary widely. In addition, BIMS handles data that are continually updated, provides a user interface that is easy to use and does not require programming skills, and controls access to data according to well-defined policy rules. We outline the current information management challenges in biobanking, describe the BIMS architecture and its main components, and discuss the extent to which it addresses the stated challenges.
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