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Post-market surveillance of medical devices: A review



Background:

Medical devices (MDs) represent the backbone of the modern healthcare system. Considering their importance in daily medical practice, the process of manufacturing, marketing and usage has to be regulated at all levels. Harmonized evidence-based conformity assessment of MDs during PMS relying on traceability of medical device measurements can contribute to higher reliability of MD performance and consequently to higher reliability of diagnosis and treatments.


Objective:

This paper discusses issues within MD post-market surveillance (PMS) mechanisms in order to set a path to harmonization of MD PMS.


Methods:

Medline (1980-2021), EBSCO (1991-2021), and PubMed (1980-2021) as well as national and international legislation and standard databases along with reference lists of eligible articles and guidelines of relevant regulatory authorities such as European Commission, Food and Drug Administration were searched for relevant information. Journal articles that contain information regarding PMS methodologies concerning stand-alone medical devices. National and international legislation, standards and guidelines concerning the topic.


Results:

The search strategy resulted in 2282 papers. Out of those only 24 articles satisfied the eligibility criteria and were finally included in the review. Papers were grouped per categories: medical device registry, medical device adverse event reporting, and medical device performance evaluation. In addition to journal articles, national and international legislation, standards, and guidelines were reviewed to assess the state of PMS in different regions of the world.


Conclusion:

Although the regulatory framework prescribes PMS of medical devices, the process itself is not harmonized with international standards. Particularly, conformity assessment of MDs, as an important part of PMS, is not measured and managed in a traceable, evidence-based manner. The lack of harmonization within PMS results in an environment of increased adverse events involving MDs and overall mistrust in medical device diagnosis and treatment results.


Keywords:

Medical device; conformity assessment; performance inspection; post-market surveillance; standardization.



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