Final Premarket Guidance to Help Medical Device Companies to Secure Data Exchange Now Released By FDA

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) published the final guidance about medical device interoperability, which include a number of tips for making sure that medical devices and health IT systems maintain intelligent, safe, and secure interactions. The FDA states that improving the functionality of medical devices to trade and utilize data safely and efficiently with other medical devices and technology provides the opportunity to boost the performance in patient care.

Providers and patients are more and more dependent on fast and secure functionality of medical devices. All medical devices should hence have the ability to pass on reliable information regarding patients to medical providers and work perfectly together. In order to do so, safe connection is central to the design process. Companies also need to take into account the device users and clearly discuss the operation, interfaces, and proper use of the devices.

The guidelines show what is needed and must help companies create devices that could communicate effectively and securely; but, the guidelines are just suggestions and aren’t officially enforceable. It depends on every company to make sure the recommendations are integrated into the device design.

Bakul Patel, the FDA Associate Director for Digital Health mentioned that the guidelines emphasize on three important areas: Making sure that interoperability is essentially part of the design of the devices, that confirmation, validation and risk management actions are executed, and that the operation, efficiency, and interface characteristics of the medical devices are described properly to users.

When it comes to interoperability, according to the guidelines, developing a medical device’s electronic interface requires suppliers to take into account the level of interoperability necessary to accomplish the goal of the interface, and the data needed to explain the interface.

Manufacturers ought to deal with the risks related to the expected device users, fairly foreseeable improper use of the device, and sensibly foreseeable combining of events that can bring about a hazardous circumstance. Devices should likewise have clear labels to advise users regarding the functional, efficiency and interface qualities, such as explicit alerts against foreseeable uses which could end in harm.

Manufacturers ought to be transparent concerning the operations and features of the devices as well as their interfaces to make sure that users of devices having systems and devices could do so securely. If it isn’t clearly described to users how the devices work and its interface, this can possibly lead to devices not working properly, which will have an effect on patient protection.

The guidance is a very good step to having more secure devices, and the FDA will proceed with working with all stakeholders to evolve alongside technology.  The final guidelines are available her.