The Emergency Medicine Specimen Bank: An Innovative Approach To Biobanking In Acute Care

Acad Emerg Med. 2019 Jun;26(6):639-647. doi: 10.1111/acem.13620. Epub 2018 Oct 25.


The Emergency Medicine Specimen Bank (EMSB) was developed to facilitate precision medicine in acute care. The EMSB is a biorepository of clinical health data and biospecimens collected from all adult English- or Spanish-speaking individuals who are able and willing to provide consent and are treated at the UCHealth-University of Colorado Hospital Emergency Department. The EMSB is the first acute care biobank that seeks to enroll all patients, with all conditions who present to the ED. Acute care biobanking presents many challenges that are unique to acute care settings such as providing informed consent in a uniquely stressful and fast-paced environment and collecting, processing, and storing samples for tens of thousands of patients per year. Here, we describe the process by which the EMSB overcame these challenges and was integrated into clinical workflow allowing for operation 24 hours a day, 7 days a week at a reasonable cost. Other institutions can implement this template, further increasing the power of biobanking research to inform treatment strategies and interventions for common and uncommon phenotypes in acute care settings.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Biological Specimen Banks / economics
  • Biological Specimen Banks / organization & administration*
  • Emergency Service, Hospital / organization & administration*
  • Humans
  • Informed Consent
  • Precision Medicine / methods*
  • Specimen Handling / standards*
  • Workflow