The 5 Phases of Medical Device Development

Healthcare, globally, is advancing at an unprecedented rate, mainly due to the development of innovative medical devices that facilitate healthcare workers. These devices include syringes, prosthetics, pacemakers, CT scanners, and ultrasound machines. 

Newer and more efficient devices, like Shockwave Canada’s shock therapy machines, are always required for an effective and efficient diagnosis and treatment. However, launching a medical device is a long and tedious process. You must conduct the right studies and partner up with a medical device consulting agency to ensure you follow all the development stages explained below. 

1. Initiation, Opportunity, and Risk Analysis

The first phase is concerned with planning, researching, and documentation. You need to decide whether you can develop the device by yourself or will require partnerships and collaborations. Similarly, you want to assess funding strategies, how you will attract investors, and what loans will be required. 

Market research is essential at this stage. By understanding the availability of similar medical devices, you can decide how to enter markets for maximum profits. For instance, conducting clinical comparisons between the devices can highlight the benefits of your products. If your device is a new product, you must file for a patent to secure your intellectual property.

Your device must meet ISO 13485 standards for international and national quality checks. They guarantee the buyer that your device has consistent design, installation, and servicing. Companies that have ISO 13485 certification perform better in international markets. 

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2. Formulation, Concept, and Feasibility

The second phase involves developing the medical device’s concept and ensuring it works.  Your concept should consider customer preferences to ensure your product has a large customer base. You can conduct interviews and surveys to understand customer requirements to incorporate them easily.

The concept must also contain the safety requirements your medical device must follow. For example, X-rays should have a maximum energy of 0.025 millirems per scan.  Ensure your concept is detailed and meets your goals, as investors will want to understand it before they provide funding for prototypes and trial runs. 

3. Design, Development, and Verification

In phase 3, you create the prototype and run trials to help you test every aspect of your design and provide information on further improving it to meet your requirements. Before conducting the trials, create a design traceability matrix that lists all the requirements your device must include and the modes of testing you will utilize. 

Phase 3 is also used to implement risk management practices. During your development, take note of the failures that can occur because of bad design, poor manufacturing, and device misuse. You must develop procedures to eliminate or reduce the impact of these failures. 

This is also the stage where you perform clinical trials, if necessary. The trials should be performed in a clinical environment with proper ethical guidelines so the subjects are not harmed. 

4. Final Validation and Product Launch Preparation 

In the 4th phase, you must compile all your data, concepts, and trial reviews into technical documentation. You may submit the documentation to the FDA for approval for your medical device to introduce in the market. 

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This phase also involves marketing and branding the medical device. You want to build a campaign highlighting the importance of your device and how it stands apart from the other similar devices in the market. Be careful that whatever you claim in your marketing strategies is backed by evidence from trials. Additionally, FDA regulations require medical device manufacturers to comply with labeling rules strictly. 

5. Product Launch and Post-Market Surveillance

Before launching your products in the market, you must establish the necessary processes to handle customer relations. For instance, there should be a platform where customers can lodge complaints, provide feedback, and ask questions about use. Your company should also try to incorporate these complaints and feedback into the medical device’s next update to generate higher profits. 

After the device’s launch, you must ensure that the manufacturing follows the quality checks you set in Phase 1. Ensure the products are uniformly created and are subjected to regular testing to maintain quality. As you improve your device and add new testing methods, you must revisit the paperwork and ensure all the new metrics are added for FDA approval. 

Endnote

Improving an existing medical device or creating a new one is essential for the healthcare system to increase efficiency and effectiveness in its processes. This allows healthcare workers to treat more patients and save more lives. However, creating medical devices is challenging. Aside from the difficulty in designing and developing the device, you must also meet international quality checks and obtain patents and approvals from the FDA. To ensure you do not skip any vital step, consider seeking guidance from a medical device consultancy. They will advise you on the proper development procedure and quality improvement tactics to increase profits.