Harmonize and Modernize the Quality System Regulation for Medical Devices with FDA ISO 13485
A practical blueprint aimed to guide organizations in the implementation, development, and maintenance of their quality management system in accordance with ISO 13485
Defining FDA ISO 13485
As medical device supply chains are rapidly globalizing, regulatory bodies have dealt with how to bridge the gap between domestic and foreign regulations. Without an integrated approach to regulations, implementing best practices to ensure that regulatory processes are followed and adequately documented is still more challenging.
In May 2018, FDA first proposed revising its current Quality System Regulations (QSR) under 21 CFR Part 820 to more precisely align with the international ISO 13485:2016 standard as the basis for its quality system legislation. This signals an essential step forward for the international standard, which is already used globally. FDA ISO 13485 QMS standard for medical devices enables controlling processes to ensure that the end product meets the desired quality and safety requirements.
Manufacturers who have not addressed ISO 13485 should start assessing their QMS to find out whether there are any gaps to meet the ISO 13485 guidelines and realign processes for compliance. Organizations should be re-certified every three years to maintain their ISO 13485 certification status.
Benefits of FDA ISO 13485
Safety and performance of medical devices are the most important in this highly regulated industry; this is why quality management systems are a regulatory or legal requirement in many countries. Implementing ISO 13485 can help organizations concerned in any part of a medical device’s life cycle with the following:
- Financial Benefits and Universal Recognition
FDA ISO 13485 has become the model QMS standard for the medical industry and is recognized by the Global Harmonization Task Force (GHTF). It has been found that QMS certified companies experience proven improvements in financial performance as compared to uncertified ones. An ISO 13485 quality management system can help an organization:
- Meet regulatory, contractual, legal, and marketing requirements
- Enhanced product safety
- Align closely to the FDA QSR standard
- Boost Customer Satisfaction
Many organizations implement ISO 13485 and obtain certification because an organization with an efficient QMS will usually meet customer expectations better than organizations that do not have a proper QMS. If any organizations’ central focus is on the customer, then the organization spends less time focusing on individual goals of departments and more time working together to meet customer needs
- Internal Performance through Process Improvement
FDA ISO 13485 stresses management review, audit processes, and improved processes based on collected data. Using a system of documentation and analysis, improvements can be planned and implemented, ensuring better operations, improved performance, and higher profitability
- Effective Decision Making & Involvement of Top Management
In an organization focused on quality goals, the management has access to data on a continual basis to see progress or lack thereof. With periodic Management Reviews (Clause 5.6), performance is evaluated against goals on a scheduled basis and appropriate action taken where required.
To meet the requirements of the standard, top management involvement with regards to the Quality Management System increases. To ensure implementation of the Quality Policy (Clause 5.3), teh management can take action to make sure that the quality goals are met, new targets are set, and continual improvement is accomplished. The quality policy also ensures that corrective action must be taken whenever errors occur
- Employee Involvement
ISO 13485 requires that employees should understand their role in the QMS. Better training and qualification of employees lead to performance consistency, increased involvement and productivity, less scrap and rework. ISO 13485 creates a work environment with feedback and idea-sharing, allowing employees the opportunity to provide their thoughts on on-going processes
What are FDA ISO 13485 Requirements?
Requirements for regulatory purposes are becoming more stringent throughout every step of a product’s life cycle, including service and delivery. Organizations are expected to illustrate their QMS processes and ensure best practice in everything they do. For each QMS, the organization should:
- define the processes needed for the QMS and apply a risk-based approach
- establish criteria and methods needed to ensure that both the operation and control of these processes are efficient
- ensure the availability of information and resources essential to support the operation and monitoring of these processes
- implement actions to achieve desired results and maintain the effectiveness of these processes
- monitor, analyze, and measure the impact of these processes
ISO 13485, an internationally accepted standard, specifies the requirements for a QMS, particularly for the medical devices industry. FDA is aligning its requirements to this standard to drive a global convergence of medical device regulatory processes
Best Practices for FDA ISO 13485
Manufacturers must follow and establish QMS to ensure their products can meet desired requirements and specifications. The FDA has determined in the QS regulation the vital elements that a quality system shall incorporate as the QS regulation includes a wide spectrum of production processes, devices, etc. Manufacturers should determine the necessity of some quality elements to develop and implement specific procedures tailored to their particular processes and devices.
Medical device training delivers the knowledge and skills that you need to comply with global requirements and boost your organization’s performance. By integrating with CQ Document Management, ComplianceQuest’s interactive and comprehensive training programs provide a learning experience for quality assurance or regulatory affairs professionals by giving appropriate permission for users on any device anywhere, anytime.
CQ Key Features in FDA ISO 13485
ComplianceQuest helps you organize your company’s ISO 13485:2016 requirements to manage and maintain the applicable regulatory requirements for quality, regulations and responsibilities as well as demonstrates a commitment to the safety and quality of medical device products. ISO 13485 adapts the ISO 9001 PDCA (Plan, Do, Check, Act) process model designed for regulatory compliance. It is prescriptive, requiring a more demanding QMS and documentation to improve productivity while easily helping auditors and notified bodies to find what they need quickly and effortlessly.
ComplianceQuest’s document management solution enables an organization to create, revise, collaborate, and maintain all important documents and medical device files and can provide the latest version to appropriate permission users on any device anywhere, anytime.
ComplianceQuest also helps the top management to gain insights from the QMS embedded in their organization and maintain its effectiveness by monitoring operational and performance key metrics.