What is it? Why is it important?

A Biobank Information Management System (BIMS) is an electronic database for biobanks, used to manage Biological Material (BM) and its associated data. The set-up can be adapted according to features required by a given biobank.


BIMS helps to standardize and automate workflow processes, such as to document:

  • Sampling of BM (e.g. BM type and source, number of obtained aliquots, collection date and time)
  • Important pre-analytical data (e.g. time for aliquoting, centrifugation method used, processing date and time)
  • Sample quality (e.g. number of viable cells, DNA/RNA purity and quantity)
  • Required analytical setting (e.g. donor age and fasting status at sampling, number of tumor cells in a sample extract)
  • Storage of BM and sample location in the storage infrastructure
  • Compliance with given ethics requirements (e.g. EC, Decl. of Taipei), biobanking standards (e.g. ISO), and regulations (e.g. HRA, HRO) (e.g. information on donor consent status (ICF), monitoring reminder system regarding equipment maintenance)

What do I need to do?

Based on your biobank:

  • Set-up a BIMS with the support of an IT professional and define:
    • The required variables for your database. Abstain from data that allow donor identification (e.g. instead establish donor codes and keep a donor-identification-log)
    • The required digital forms and interfaces needed by users working and entering data in BIMS
    • User roles and responsibilities, including BIMS access rules (e.g. administrator, regular user, view-only user)
  • Ensure BIMS has an audit trail that records who enters what and when in the database
  • Ensure BIMS hardware is protected from unauthorized access, fire and other destruction hazards, including data loss (e.g. implement data back-up procedures)
  • Write a BIMS user manual and train staff on BIMS set-up and its application


For more information on BIMS and the establishment of datasets for biobanks, contact The Swiss Biobanking Platform (SBP).


BIMS carries a license fee potentially not covered by the study budget. In any case, ensure that the selected biobank database adheres to the above guidelines and complies with regulatory requirements

Where can I get help?

Your local CTU can support you with experienced staff regarding this topic

The Swiss Biobanking Platform (SBP) can provide you with support on this topic –  see in particular

  • SBP BIMS: Interoperability to promote exchange and use of BM

SBP Documents

SOPs, Forms and Templates – see in particular

  • BM Management SOP Sample Tracking Form

Dataset V1.0

  • Liquid
  • Tissue

External Links

Swissethics – see in particular

  • Topics / Biobanks and data registries


Declaration of Taipei – see particular principle

  • Health database and biobank governance

ISO 20387:2018 Biotechnology - Biobanking (access liable to cost)

Swiss Law

HRA – see in particular article

  • Art. 43 Storage

HRO – see in particular article

  • Art. 5 Storage of health-related personal data and biological material
  • BIMS – Biobank Information Management System
  • BM – Biological Material
  • CTU – Clinical Trials Unit
  • DNA – Deoxyribonucleic Acid
  • EC – Ethics Committee
  • HRA – Human Research Ordinance
  • HRO – Human Research Ordinance
  • ICF – Informed Consent Form
  • ISO – International Standards Organisation
  • RNA – Ribonucleic Acid
  • SBP – Swiss Biobanking Platform
  • SOP – Standard Operating Procedures
Development ↦ Biobanking ↦ Biobank Set-Up ↦ Biobank Database

Provides some background knowledge and basic definitions

Basic Monitoring
Basic Drug or Device

Starts with a study idea

Ends after having assessed and evaluated study feasibility

Concept Drug or Device

Starts with confidence that the study is feasible

Ends after having received ethics and regulatory approval

Development Drug or Device

Starts with ethics and regulatory approval

Ends after successful study initiation

Set-Up Ethics and Laws
Set-Up Quality and Risk
Set-Up Drug or Device

Starts with participant recruitment

Ends after the last participant has completed the last study visit

Conduct Drug or Device

Starts with last study visit completed

Ends after study publication and archiving

Completion Statistics
Completion Drug or Device
Current Path (click to copy): Development ↦ Biobanking ↦ Biobank Set-Up ↦ Biobank Database

Please note: the Easy-GCS tool is currently under construction.