• Presentation

Implementing Biospecimen Collection and Tracking Methods on a Large-Scale Field Study


Hendershott, A. E., Kilpatrick, G. L., & Weger, S. A. (2010, May). Implementing Biospecimen Collection and Tracking Methods on a Large-Scale Field Study. Presented at AAPOR 2010, .


In studies where blood and saliva biospecimen samples are collected by multiple field interviewers for analysis, standard guidelines must be implemented to ensure consistent collection, storage, and shipment. With a large number of biospecimen samples being obtained daily, it is also critical to track the collections as they are sent from the field to the labs that receive and process the samples so that all collected samples are closely monitored and accounted for.

For a recent longitudinal study conducted by RTI, detailed biospecimen collection protocols were developed to ensure the acquisition of high quality samples. Field interviewers were required to complete an extensive training on biospecimen collection, including a certification on collection, storage and shipment procedures. In cases where respondents required a phone interview rather than home visit, a special process was implemented to allow them to receive a saliva collection kit. These respondents were provided with thorough instructions, and were asked to self-collect a saliva sample and ship the collection kit back to the processing lab. As a means for accurately tracking and reporting biospecimen collection and shipment data, an intricate Biospecimen Tracking System (BTS) was developed. This enabled project staff and the labs to enter information about the collected samples, and provide data quality reports on the collections. Feedback regarding sample quality was provided to project management by the processing labs, and was immediately shared with field interviewers. Improvement methods, such as one-on-one retraining, were implemented as needed. In an effort to share the knowledge and lessons learned, this presentation describes the innovative, non-invasive biospecimen collection methods and tracking methods used for this study, as well as biospecimen collection success rates based on the implementation of improvement methods.