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Guide to Design and Development ๐Ÿ”„ Documentation in Medical Device & IVD ๐Ÿ”ฌ

Design and development in the context of medical devices refer to the systematic process of creating a product that meets specific user needs and regulatory requirements. It involves translating user needs and requirements into a product design that is safe, effective, and reliable.

Design and Development Process

Clause 7.3 of the Quality Management System standard ISO 13485 underscores the critical importance of procedures governing design and development activities within medical device manufacturing organizations. These procedures serve as a roadmap, delineating the steps to be followed, roles and responsibilities, and documentation requirements throughout the design lifecycle. By following to these procedures, organizations ensure compliance with regulatory requirements, including standards such as ISO 13485 and ISO 14971 for risk management. Design inputs, outputs, verification, validation, and change management processes are clearly defined, facilitating the creation of safe, effective medical devices that meet user needs and intended use. Comprehensive documentation and record-keeping further enhance traceability and accountability, while ongoing training and competence management ensure that personnel are equipped to carry out their designated tasks proficiently. Ultimately, adherence to these procedures fosters quality, consistency, and regulatory compliance throughout the design and development process, thereby contributing to the delivery of high-quality medical devices to the market.
  • Identification of User Needs: The process begins with identifying user needs, which are typically gathered through market research, user surveys, and feedback from stakeholders.
  • Design Input: Design inputs are the specific requirements that the product must meet. This includes functional requirements, performance criteria, regulatory requirements, and usability considerations.
  • Conceptual Design: Once the design inputs are established, the conceptual design phase involves brainstorming and generating ideas for how the product will meet those requirements.
  • Detailed Design: In this phase, the conceptual design is refined into detailed specifications, drawings, and plans for manufacturing.
  • Prototyping: Prototyping involves creating physical or digital models of the product to test its functionality, usability, and performance.
  • Verification and Validation: Verification ensures that the product meets the specified design requirements, while validation confirms that it meets user needs and performs as intended in real-world conditions.
  • Design Transfer: Design transfer involves transitioning the finalized design from the development phase to production, ensuring that manufacturing processes are capable of producing the product consistently.
  • Design Changes: Throughout the design and development process, changes may be necessary based on testing results, feedback, or evolving requirements. These changes must be carefully managed and documented.


Manufacturer's Responsibilities

  • Compliance with Regulations: Manufacturers are responsible for ensuring that their products comply with relevant regulations and standards, such as ISO 13485 (quality management for medical devices) and ISO 14971 (risk management for medical devices).
  • Quality Management: Manufacturers must establish and maintain a quality management system (QMS) to oversee the design and development process, ensuring that procedures are followed, risks are managed, and product quality is maintained.
  • Risk Management: Manufacturers must conduct risk management activities throughout the design and development process to identify, assess, and mitigate potential risks to patient safety and product efficacy.
  • Documentation: Manufacturers are responsible for documenting all aspects of the design and development process, including design inputs, verification and validation activities, design changes, and risk management documentation.
  • Product Testing: Manufacturers must conduct testing to verify that the product meets design requirements and regulatory standards. This may include mechanical testing, electrical testing, biocompatibility testing, and usability testing.
  • Submission to Regulatory Authorities: Manufacturers are responsible for preparing and submitting regulatory submissions to obtain market approval for their products. This may include applications for clearance or approval from regulatory agencies such as CDSCO, the FDA in the United States or the CE Marking process in Europe.

Submission Requirements
Regulatory submission requirements vary depending on the regulatory jurisdiction and the classification of the medical device. However, common submission components may include:
  • Design and development documentation, including design inputs, verification and validation reports, risk management documentation, and design changes.
  • Quality management system documentation, including procedures, work instructions, and records of quality management activities.
  • Testing and certification reports from accredited testing laboratories.
  • Clinical data and evidence of safety and efficacy, if required.
  • Labeling and Instructions for Use (IFU) for the product.
  • Information on the manufacturing process and facilities.

Practical issues with Design and Development

The exclusion of design and development activities from the Quality Management System (QMS) can indeed present a major concern for manufacturers, particularly when it comes to regulatory submissions. Even if a manufacturer opts to exclude design and development from their QMS, they are still required to provide evidence of compliance with regulatory requirements for their products. This means that manufacturers must submit all necessary documentation related to the design and development process as part of their regulatory submissions. Regulatory bodies expect thorough documentation demonstrating that the design and development of the medical device meets all applicable standards and regulations, regardless of whether these activities are conducted in-house or outsourced.


Regulatory Acceptance Conditions Description
Low Risk Classification Regulatory bodies may accept submissions without comprehensive design and development documentation if the product is classified as low risk.
Exclusion with Verification/Validation Manufacturers may exclude design and development activities from the QMS if they provide evidence of design verification and validation to regulatory authorities.
State-of-the-Art Manufacturing (SOTA) Manufacturers utilizing SOTA techniques may be exempt from certain design and development requirements, contingent upon providing evidence of design verification/validation.


A Typical Design and Development Files Includes but not limited to this Content Structure

Document History Sheet This section provides a record of the document's revision history, including dates, authors, and changes made. It ensures transparency and accountability throughout the project lifecycle.

Phase I - Initiation Phase

  1. Purpose: Define the purpose of the project, outlining its objectives and expected outcomes.
  2. Scope: Clearly define the boundaries and extent of the project, including what is included and excluded from scope.
  3. Goals and Objectives:
    • Background and Effect Goal: Provide context for the project and articulate its intended impact.
    • Project Objectives: Outline specific, measurable objectives to be achieved.
    • Project Objectives Priority: Establish the priority of each objective to guide resource allocation and decision-making.
  4. Scope Baseline:
    • Product Scope Description: Detail the features, functions, and characteristics of the product.
  5. Major Deliverables:
    • Exclusions: Specify any items or requirements excluded from the project scope.
    • Assumptions: Document any assumptions made during project planning.
    • Requirements Documentation: Outline the detailed requirements for the project.

Phase II – Design Input

  1. Product Specification: Define the specific requirements and characteristics of the product.
  2. User Interface: Describe the user interface design considerations and requirements.
  3. Requirement Traceability Matrix: Establish a clear link between requirements and design elements.
  4. Preliminary Hazard Analysis: Identify potential hazards and risks associated with the product.
  5. Risk Management: Develop strategies for mitigating identified risks.
  6. Regulatory: Ensure compliance with relevant regulations and standards.
  7. Conceptual Design Review: Evaluate the initial design concept for feasibility and alignment with project objectives.

Phase III – Design Output

  1. Mechanical, Electronics, and SW Specifications: Provide detailed specifications for various components of the product.
  2. Labelling and Packaging Specifications: Define requirements for labelling and packaging.
  3. Assembly Instructions: Document step-by-step instructions for product assembly.
  4. Instructions for Use/User Manual: Create user-friendly instructions for operating the product.
  5. Quality Plan: Establish quality control measures to ensure product integrity.
  6. Supplier Evaluation Records: Evaluate and document suppliers' capabilities and performance.
  7. Verification Protocols/Records: Develop protocols for verifying product performance and compliance.
  8. Pre-Production Products: Produce prototypes or samples for testing and validation.
  9. Preliminary Design Review: Assess the initial design output for compliance with specifications.

Phase IV – Design Validation

  1. Clinical Evaluation Report: Summarize the clinical evaluation of the product's safety and performance.
  2. Design Validation Protocols/Records: Document the validation process to ensure the product meets user needs and requirements.
  3. Risk Management Report: Update the risk management plan based on validation findings.
  4. GSPR Checklist and Essential Principle Checklist: Ensure compliance with safety and performance requirements outlined in regulations.
  5. PMS Plan: Establish a post-market surveillance plan to monitor product performance and safety.

Phase V – Design Release

  1. Design Transfer: Transfer the finalized design to production.
    • Design Transfer Questionnaire: Ensure all necessary steps are completed for successful transfer.
    • Design Transfer Checklist: Verify that all requirements for design transfer are met.
  2. Final Design Reviews: Conduct final reviews to ensure readiness for production release.

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