Medical Devices Directive 93/42/EC

Yesterdays newsletter from the Association of British Healthcare Industries gave an Overview of Coming Changes under Directive 2007/47/EC as follows:

Clinical Data

Modifications have been made to a number of the articles and relevant annexes. These concern clinical data and its evaluation and there are a number of references to clinical data in the provisions of the Directive; this includes the definition of clinical data and there is provision for data to be included in the European databank.

A key change is that manufacturers will have to justify the lack of clinical data if none is available and they will also have to justify why a clinical investigation has not been undertaken for high risk devices. If a manufacturer chooses to follow the literature route, he must be able to provide evidence of equivalence between his device and that covered in the cited literature. Finally, where post-market clinical follow up on a device is not judged to be needed, this needs to be justified.

Software

Another major change concerns the definition of stand-alone software. The new definition states that software intended by its manufacturer to be used specifically for diagnostic and/or therapeutic purposes is now regarded as a medical device in its own right.

MHRA has identified a number of examples of the types of devices which will fall into this category:

  • The NHS software algorithm to screen for swine flu infection
  • Software providing a cognitive training/stimulation programme for patients with specific conditions or impairments in order to cause improvements
  • A system which detects specific changes in patients using an algorithm acting on data from a number of inputs (e.g. movements, voice analysis etc) in order to propose clinical interventions, medication, hospital referrals etc.
  • Software facilitating remote, large-scale, on-line patient screening, for example to identify ophthalmic conditions diagnosed by qualified hospital ophthalmologists
  • Software that carries out complex analysis/trending of measured physiological parameters which the clinician relies upon when making a diagnosis
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