Automating Instrument Data Ingestion and Access to Accelerate Lab Productivity

In clinical research, the process of uploading and managing lab data is rife with obstacles. Some of those obstacles threaten to derail productivity, which delays deployment and drives up costs – time is money, after all, and the longer the research phase takes, the more organizations are forced to spend on staffing and other resources. 

Here’s an overview of the major obstacles biotech organizations are facing today.

Large data volumes

In trials of yesteryear, organizations stored clinical trial data locally, using either paper or on-premises software. But the volume of data produced in drug research is large and only getting more expansive, and these bygone systems are no longer fit to handle all of it. 

Moreover, they pose no small degree of risk. If an enormous volume of data is stored locally in a lab or office, and that location experiences a fire, flood, or some other physical or digital disaster, all of that data could be lost – along with the thousands or even millions of dollars that the organization has invested in it.

Remote access

Lab data requires review by a multitude of stakeholders. In the current era of decentralized clinical trials and post-pandemic remote workflows, those stakeholders aren’t all working out of the same office – they’re distributed across the country or even the globe. Without the right technology solution, providing those stakeholders the necessary access once lab data is uploaded to a data management system can be cumbersome and costly. It could require people to travel to the physical location where the data is stored, or to download large volumes of data ranging up to terabytes in size. 

Manual processes

The cloud revolution in clinical research over the past several years has largely been a function of organizations hoping to avoid the challenges we just described. But transferring data from lab instruments to the cloud poses its own challenges: Because most lab instruments aren’t built for cloud workflows, study staff have to transfer the data manually, a process that is vulnerable to any number of hiccups. Files can go missing, get mistakenly deleted, or be corrupted, threatening data integrity and requiring cost-intensive and time-consuming backtracking.

Audit trails

From a compliance perspective, one of the biggest responsibilities of any biotech is making sure their data and their processes are traceable. Organizations not only need to be able to gather the data they’ve collected on various lab instruments and upload it into their data management system – they need to be able to keep an audit trail that provides regulators with full visibility into that process. This includes key insights such as who has access to the data and any data modifications that have occurred. 

Traditional Solutions Fall Short

To the extent that most solutions facilitate the transfer of data stored in lab instruments, they do so in a manner best described as desktop-centric. They provide software that users install on a single device, without much functionality or accessibility beyond that. For small data volumes, that may suffice – but pushing the enormous volumes of data produced in clinical trials into a single laptop and trying to sync it to the cloud is hardly feasible. 

Other tools do a better job of facilitating large uploads to the cloud, which will help organizations avoid many of the slow, manual processes that drive up costs and extend trial timelines. But where these tools bypass those concerns, they struggle with compliance requirements – because they largely weren’t built for use in clinical trials, and they don’t capture the audit data that organizations must provide to regulatory bodies. 

Egnyte’s Lab-to-Cloud Solution

Built with clinical trial workflows in mind, Egnyte’s cloud solution facilitates efficient uploads and management of large data volumes from lab instruments to the cloud, maintaining data integrity and access for all stakeholders involved, all while ensuring full compliance:

  • Rapid deployment. The system is simple to configure and can collect data seamlessly from just about any type of lab equipment. Users can collect data with industry-standard UNC path or native drive letters, and integrate the system with eLab notebooks. All of this provides the speed and flexibility to deploy in multiple architectures on Day 0.
  • Access. Research partners and analysts can access data from anywhere, and on any device, in real time. IT can leverage granular permissions controls to ensure externally-shared data does not fall into the wrong hands – the perfect balance for a highly regulated industry operating in the work-from-home era.
  • Data integrity. A broad suite of features and safeguards ensure data integrity, from secondary backup syncs to the public cloud to automatically alerting stakeholders each time data is submitted, processed, or deployed. This cuts down on manual interactions, reducing risk and increasing efficiency. As teams upload their data, Egnyte automatically synchronizes that data into the cloud while maintaining all audit-related information.

The end result: Study staff, researchers, and administrators can rapidly upload, store, and transfer large volumes of lab data, and easily access that data via the web, desktop, or mobile. This is the key to faster deployment, reduced risk, and enhanced productivity in your lab.

This article has only scratched the surface – for more on Egnyte’s lab-to-cloud solution, listen to the replay of our recent webinar, where the head of Life Sciences Product Development, Greg Neustaetter, discusses how Egnyte’s “lab-in-the-cloud” solution can help speed research in a collaborative and secure environment.

Get started with Egnyte today

Explore our unified solution for file sharing, collaboration and data governance.

Get started with Egnyte today

Explore the best platform for automating lab instrument data ingestion and access.

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