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In the medical device industry, knowledge is power. Your knowledge of medical device terminology empowers you to work efficiently, communicate clearly, and mitigate errors and misunderstandings when producing and marketing medical devices.
Every industry in the world uses acronyms, and the overlap between multiple fields can be a source of confusion for professionals.
There’s little room for confusion in the medical device industry, as a miscommunication could potentially lead to a product defect or adverse event with serious consequences.
That’s why we’ve created a comprehensive list of the top medical device acronyms that you can refer to at any time.
The terminology and commonly used acronyms from this list are described in the context of medical device manufacture, and each term has a link that will lead you to a resource either in the Greenlight Guru blog or outside resource relevant to that term.
Part 11 of Title 21 in the Code of Federal Regulations, commonly referred to as 21 CFR Part 11 or Part 11 for shorthand, establishes the acceptance criteria by FDA of electronic records, electronic signatures and handwritten signatures executed to electronic documents.
Compliance of quality systems with 21 CFR Part 11 requirements applies to the medical device industry, in addition to pharmaceutical, biotechnology, and other FDA-regulated industries.
FDA maintains quality system regulations, or QSR, found in 21 CFR Part 820, which establishes the quality system requirements for all medical device manufacturers in the United States. Manufacturers are required to establish and maintain a quality system that is appropriate for the medical device to ensure both the safety and efficacy for its intended use, per the requirements of 21 CFR Part 820.
A 483 observation, or “inspectional observation,” is a notice issued by an FDA inspector to flag potential regulatory violations found during a routine inspection. A Form 483 observation may be issued regarding any violation under FDA jurisdiction. Failure to demonstrate handling of the observed problems can be escalated to a warning letter.
A 510(k) is a regulatory premarket submission made to FDA for a Class I, II, or III medical device that doesn’t otherwise require premarket approval. The purpose of a 510(k) submission must demonstrate a safe and effective device that is substantial equivalent to an existing legally marketed device.
Application Lifecycle Management, or ALM, involves the specification, design, development and testing of software tools. ALM systems are used to manage quality and demonstrate compliance during the software delivery process.
An Auditing Organization, or AO, is responsible for auditing medical device manufacturers to evaluate conformity with quality management system requirements and other medical device regulatory requirements. An AO may be an independent organization or a Regulatory Authority (RA).
AOs participating in the Medical Device Single Audit Program (MDSAP) may conduct a single regulatory audit of a manufacturer which satisfies the relevant requirements of RAs participating in MDSAP.
An Approved Supplier List, or ASL, is an internal list kept by medical device manufacturers to record suppliers known to meet the quality and performance standards of the manufacturing organization.
A Bill of Materials, or BOM, is a complete list of raw materials, assemblies, and subassemblies required to produce a device, as well as the quantities required for each. A BOM is required to carry out change management processes for a medical device.
A Competent Authority, or CA, is a body within the government of a Member State in the European Union. A CA transposes the requirements of Europe's medical device regulation (MDR) into the national law of each Member State. For example, the Federal Institute for Drugs and Medical Devices (BfArM) is the the CA for Germany.
A Conformity Assessment, or CA, is carried out by an EU Notified Body to determine that a medical device is safe and performs as intended by the manufacturer. Medical devices must pass a conformity assessment in order to obtain CE Marking.
Computer-Aided Design (CAD) software allows device manufacturers and designers to draft detailed designs, including precise specifications and measurements. CAD software files can be stored on a digital database for reference.
Corrective and Preventive Action, or CAPA, is a quality system process carried out by a medical device organization to reduce and/or eliminate potential sources of risk and regulatory non-conformance or noncompliance.
A CE Marking, or CE Mark, certification must be obtained by medical device manufacturers for product distribution into the European Union (EU) marketplace. CE Marks are issued by third-party organizations, known as a Notified Bodies, and indicate compliance with the applicable EU medical device regulations (MDR).
The European Committee for Standardization, or CEN, is a public standards organization that develops standards for medical devices for sale in the European Union (EU). CEN can be compared to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), which maintains and enforces medical device regulations in the U.S. marketplace.
The Center for Devices and Radiological Health, or CDRH, is a branch of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) responsible for overseeing the approval of medical devices for sale in the U.S. market and also monitors the manufacturing, performance, and safety of those medical devices.
A Clinical Evaluation Report, or CER, provides clinical evidence that a medical device will perform as expected, such that no safety issues occur while using it. European regulations require medical device manufacturers to perform a conformity assessment, of which include CER documentation, in order to legally market a product in the EU.
Cost of Quality, or CoQ, is a system for measuring the financial impact that a quality system and its processes has on a business. Medical device companies can use CoQ to calculate potential savings and weigh those against the costs associated with internal process improvements.
Computer System Validation, or CSV, is a process used to demonstrate that computer systems, including hardware and software, used in medical device manufacture meet the regulations outlined in 21 CFR Part 11.
Current Good Manufacturing Practices, or cGMP, are minimum standards provided by FDA for manufacturing processes and facilities. The FDA cGMP standards establish a framework for medical device manufacturers to follow and allow for greater flexibility in achieving various quality requirements.
A Document Change Order, or DCO, is a formalized process in medical device change management. The DCO process involves change requests to be made within an organization to a document or system in a standardized, traceable manner.
The De Novo regulatory pathway is a classification process that uses a risk-based methodology for novel medical device to be granted market entry for sale in the U.S. For a de novo submission to be granted by FDA, general controls must indicate that the device is safe and effective for its intended use.
The Deming Cycle is a methodology for monitoring quality efficacy and serves as a basis for traditional quality assurance. The Deming Cycle model is comprised of four parts: plan, do, study, and act. These parts are often summarized as PDSA.
Design Controls or DC, as defined by FDA in 21 CFR 820.30, are a systematic process that ensures specific design requirements are met by documented procedures that control the design of the medical device. The purpose of DCs is to demonstrate that a medical device is safe, effective, and performs as expected.
An efficient design control system will be able to prove your device meets the needs and requirements of its users.
A Design Dossier, or DD, includes all contents of the technical file (TF), which describe a device’s design, manufacturing, and performance, as well as the documentation that demonstrates conformity with applicable regulatory requirements.
A Design of Experiment, or DoE, is a method for medical device manufacturers and engineers to validate internal processes and predict process variability in order to improve and maintain product quality.
A Design for Manufacture, or DFM, is a process for optimizing the design of a medical device for manufacturing. A DFM takes into account the cost of manufacture, as well as regulatory compliance and product performance.
A Design History File, or DHF, contains all documentation related to the design and development of a medical device. Medical device manufacturers in the U.S. market are required by law under FDA 21 CFR Part 820 to maintain a DHF.
The Device History Record, or DHR, acts as a record of production for a medical device and demonstrates it was manufactured according to information stored in the device master record (DMR). Manufacturers operating in the U.S. are required under CFR Part 820.184 to maintain a DHR, which contains information such as acceptance records for units or batches of products, unique product identifiers, and product counts.
A Device Master Record, or DMR, is a record of all the information and specifications required to produce a medical device. The DMR contains instructions for manufacturing, drawings and specifications for devices, and requirements for labeling and packaging. Manufacturers are required by FDA to maintain a DMR under CFR Part 820.181.
A Document Management System, or DMS, is a tool used to store and manage documents related to medical device development, as well as track any changes made to documents throughout the product lifecycle on an ongoing basis. A DMS is not synonymous with a Quality Management System, or QMS, which stores documents but also has a regulatory compliance focus.
An Engineering Change Order, or ECO, is a process that is triggered when an issue is raised with a medical device in terms of performance, cost-effectiveness, or the process of manufacturing the device. An ECO is typically followed by an analysis to determine whether action should be taken. Depending on the nature of the change, an ECO may lead to a CAPA investigation.
An Establishment Inspection Report, or EIR, is made by FDA in the event a Form 483 is issued following an inspection. The next steps after receiving an official EIR from FDA will be determined by the severity of the issues observed, as well as the 483 response. If significant deficiencies are observed, FDA may decide to issue a warning letter.
Enterprise Resource Planning, or ERP, refers to the management of business processes within the organization of a medical device organization. This is often carried out with the use of ERP tools that gather and organize business data and automate processes related to human resources and business practices.
The European Commission's new IVDR 2017/746, which is shorthand for In Vitro Diagnostic Regulation, is Europe's new regulation for in vitro diagnostic devices that is scheduled to go into effect 26 May 2022. The IVDR requires all existing IVD devices being sold in the EU market to undergo recertification for compliance with the new requirements, which supersede the previously held directives for in-vitro diagnostic devices (IVDD).
MDD is the Medical Device Directive for medical devices sold in the European marketplace, which was replaced in 2017 by the medical device regulation (MDR. The purpose of the directive was to harmonize laws and standards around medical devices marketed in the European Union.
EU MDR is a common abbreviation for the medical device Regulation (EU) 2017/745, which mandates the quality and safety requirements for medical devices produced and marketed in the European Union (EU). The EU medical device regulation supersedes the previously held medical device directives (MDD) that were in place up until 2017 and places strong emphasis on a total product lifecycle approach. View more EU MDR terms here.
The European Database on Medical Devices, or EUDAMED, is a database developed by the European Commission to facilitate compliance with European medical device regulations. It's intended to function as a multipurpose system for registration, collaboration, and communication for multiple stakeholders in the medical device industry.
The Food and Drug Administration, or FDA, is a federal agency of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The FDA is responsible for approving medical devices for manufacture and distribution within the U.S. Medical device manufacturers operating within the U.S. market are subject to FDA inspections and compliance with the requirements outlined in Title 21 of the Code of Regulations.
Failure Modes and Effects Analysis, or FMEA, is a method used to identify failures in a design or process associated with a medical device. FMEA is distinct from ISO 14971, the international standard for medical device risk management. The FMEA method can be broken into two parts: PFMEA for processes, and DFMEA for designs.
Fault Tree Analysis, or FTA, is an analytical method aimed at identifying points of failure and risk within a quality system. In medical device manufacture, FTA can be applied throughout the course of risk management activities to identify possible sources of risk.
Freedom to Operate, or FTO, refers to product infringement on intellectual property. Device manufacturers typically declare whether they have FTO in each market in which they plan to sell a new product.
Medical device manufacturers are required to comply with the General Safety and Performance Requirements (GSPRs) of the new EU MDR. The regulation splits GSPRs into three chapters, general requirements, requirements regarding design and manufacture, and requirements regarding the information supplied with the device.
Hazard Identification, or HID, is a risk management process in which device manufacturers determine whether situations, processes, or items associated with the production of their device may have the potential to cause harm.
An Investigational Device Exemption, or IDE, is an FDA exemption that allows an investigational device to be used for testing a device against premarket approval standards. An investigational device can be used to gather data on the safety and effectiveness of the device, and this data is submitted as an IDE for review by FDA.
IEC 60601 is a standard pertaining to electrical medical equipment. Any medical device containing electronics must pass the necessary requirements outlined in IEC 60601.
Programmable Electrical Medical Systems, or PEMS, is a key part of what's covered in IEC 60601. PEMS consists of software, firmware, and equipment that can be programmed to carry out functions that aid medical care or treatment. The standard also covers mechanical safety, labeling, and risk management.
IEC 62304 is a software framework that outlines software engineering and documentation practices. It is also recognized by FDA and provides a risk-based framework that can be used throughout entire medical device software lifecycle.
Instructions for Use, or IFU, are instructional materials used to convey relevant information to the end user. These materials must take into account the capabilities and limitations of the end user in order to communicate instructions as concisely and objectively as possible.
The International Medical Device Regulators Forum, or IMDRF, is a voluntary working group of international medical device experts whose purpose is to harmonize medical device standards and regulations. The IMDRF supersedes the Global Harmonization Task Force.
Installation Qualification, Operational Qualification, and Performance Qualification are terms that pertain to medical device software and equipment validation. IQ relates to the proper installment of software or equipment, OQ concerns meeting the necessary regulatory requirements, and PQ has to do with compliance of the software or equipment performance.
An Institutional Review Board, or IRB, is a body that oversees human medical research in the U.S. and ensures that the human rights of all subjects are protected. An IRB has the authority to approve or disapprove research or to request modifications to research practices.
The International Organization for Standardization, or ISO, is a non-governmental organization of experts providing voluntary international standards, based on the subject matter expertise of members, to enable and promote innovative solutions to worldwide challenges.
ISO 13485:2016 is the internationally harmonized standard for medical device quality management systems (QMS). To align with ISO 13485:2016, QMS contents should address the specific, applicable requirements outlined in the standard, in addition to the applicable regulatory requirements according to the markets where the medical device will be manufactured and marketed.
ISO 14971:2019 is the latest version of the international standard for medical device risk management. The globally recognized standard offers best practices for using a proactive approach to risk management throughout the entire lifecycle of a medical device.
ISO 9001 is an international standard that specifies the requirements for a quality management system. Belonging under the umbrella of the ISO 9000 standard, 9001 is the only one that offers a certification pathway for manufacturers. This standard assumes a specialized focus on ensuring users receive good-quality products and services.
IVD refers to In Vitro Diagnostic devices. As defined in IVDR (EU) 2017/746, IVD can describe devices or equipment “intended by the manufacturer to be used in vitro for the examination of specimens, including blood and tissue donations, derived from the human body.”
Manufacturer and User Facility Device Experience, or MAUDE, is a database for medical device electronic reporting (eMDR) submitted to the FDA by manufacturers, importers, device user facilities, health care professionals, patients, and consumers.
Medical Device Reporting, or MDR, refers to a surveillance tool maintained by FDA that is used to monitor the performance and safety of medical devices after being placed on the market. MDR provides voluntary reporting capabilities to both medical device manufacturers and consumers for public-use.
The Medical Device Single Audit Program, or MDSAP, is a program allowing medical device manufacturers to gain access into multiple global markets through one audit event. There are currently five active participating regions of MDSAP, including Australia, Brazil, Canada, Japan, and the United States.
Medical Device User Fee Amendments, or MDUFA, refers to changes made to the fee structure in which medical device companies are expected to pay to FDA in order to register their establishments and devices. These fees also apply to application or notification submissions made to the FDA.
A Medical Device Quality Management System, or MDQMS, is a quality management system built from the ground up for the medical device industry. Unlike a legacy QMS or ad hoc system, a MDQMS typically includes templates and workflows that align with medical device industry requirements and best practices.
Greenlight Guru provides the only best-in-class MDQMS software built by medical device professionals, for medical device professionals.
Manufacturing Resource Planning, or MRP, is a way of compiling, organizing, and planning various activities carried out by a medical device manufacturer (or with any business). The method involves simulating hypothetical scenarios to ensure resources are being used effectively. This term has fallen out of use in recent years and may also be referred to as ERP.
A Notified Body, or NB, is a third-party auditing organization that assesses the quality and conformity of medical device products seeking market entry into the European Union.
A Nonconformance Report, or NCR, is used to document non-conforming material observed during quality control activities or inspection. A NCR details the identified issue(s) of nonconformance, the severity and impact of the non-conformance, how it occurred, and how nonconformance will be managed to prevent recurrence.
Nonsignificant Risk, or NSR, is a measure of risk as outlined by ISO 14971. Determining whether a risk is significant or nonsignificant involves assessing the probability of direct harm, probability of harm from not using the device, and probability of harm from misinformation.
Own Brand Labeling, or OBL, occurs when a manufacturer sells a medical device in the EU that already has a CE Marking and does so under its own brand.
An Original Equipment Manufacturer, or OEM, is an organization that produces goods which are used as subparts in products of a third-party company, which then sells the end products to consumers.
The European Commission requires manufacturers to designate at least one person with the requisite expertise in the field of medical devices from within their organization as the Person Responsible for Regulatory Compliance (PRRC).
Product Development, or PD, is the pre-market process of building a medical device. In the medical device industry, this process encompasses the design and development of a product.
Product Data Management, or PDM, is the handling of data as it relates to a medical device within a software system. Modern medical device companies often use PDM tools to compile product data and automate management protocols.
In the manufacturing sector, Product Lifecycle Management, or PLM, is a system for managing and overseeing the development and distribution of a product. This process applies to the inception, design, regulatory approval, manufacturing, marketing, and post-market phases of medical devices until the product is no longer on the market.
Premarket Approval, or PMA, is the regulatory pathway to market required for Class III devices under FDA regulations. The PMA submission process typically involves clinical trials with human participants, as well as laboratory testing, to demonstrate the safety and efficacy of the device.
Post-Market Surveillance, or PMS, is the process of monitoring a medical device after it has gained market entry for sale and distribution of use for use by patients within the marketplace. PMS involves gathering data and feedback on the performance of a device on the market, and it is a mandatory process for compliance with most regulations and standards, including 21 CFR Part 820, EU MDR, and ISO 13485:2016.
Proof of Principle, or POP and also known as Proof of Concept, is the demonstration that the initial concept behind a medical device is feasible. The POP typically includes criteria for success that must be met in order to proceed with product development.
Production Planning and Control, or PPC, is a process used to organize the production, including design and development activities, and the manufacture of a medical device. A PPC process is usually comprised of inputs, outputs, and control systems. Regulations for design and development planning are found under FDA CFR 21 Part 820.30.
Quality Assurance, or QA, is a method used to prevent defective, nonconforming products. QA professionals engage in activities intended to improve the product development and testing processes, as well as maintaining compliant marketing and distribution processes.
A quality management system can be considered as a QA tool itself, as it serves as a single source of truth for all quality policies and procedures for the final product.
While QA focuses on the process, Quality Control, or QC, focuses on the product. QC is system for identifying defects in a medical device during the post-production phase, prior to product distribution. The goal of quality control is to ensure the product conforms to specified requirements and will meet expected performance criteria upon end user interface. QC and QA are complementary aspects of a QMS.
A Quality Management System, or QMS, is an organizational tool for implementing and maintaining activities, documents, and tasks as it relates to responsibilities, procedures, processes, and resources. A QMS is instrumental in achieving regulatory compliance and in producing safe and effective medical devices. At minimum, a quality system should include design controls, risk management, document control and records management, and supplier management.
The Quality System Inspection Technique, also known as the QSIT method, is a type of FDA inspection that uses a top-down approach to reviewing the four main subsystems within a company's QMS. The top-down approach used by the FDA inspector begins with reviewing the company's procedures before drilling down into the quality records for those processes. The quality records serve as proof the company is following its written procedures.
A Quality System Record, or QSR, is a record that acts as a source file for all documentation, procedures, and records that are located within a QMS. Medical device companies can use their QSR as a reference to navigate other aspects of their QMS. QSR can also refer to Quality System Regulation, shown below.
The Quality System Regulation, or QSR, for medical devices in the U.S. is outlined in FDA 21 CFR Part 820. The QSR requirements are based on methods for facilities, and controls used for, carrying out all phases of processes throughout the lifecycle of a medical device. These aspects include design, manufacture, packaging, labeling, storing, installing, and servicing of medical devices intended for use by humans.
Regulatory Affairs, or RA, professionals in the medical device industry play a strategic role throughout the product lifecycle, such as ownership of a company's go-to-market strategy for satisfying legal requirements of product commercialization, regulatory submission protocol, and postmarket surveillance methods. The RA role serves a critical function for effectively communicating and executing appropriate regulatory strategies to ensure compliance.
Risk Analysis, or RA, is a method used in risk management to identify specific risks associated with a design, procedure, or process used in the manufacture of a medical device. The RA process will include identifying the medical device, the persons involved, the scope of the risk analysis, and relevant date(s). Preliminary hazard analysis, FMEA, and fault tree analysis are all methods used to carry out risk analysis for a medical device.
Risk Management, or RM, is a process used by medical device companies to identify, control, and prevent hazards and risks/sources of harm that might arise during the use of a medical device. The internationally recognized standard for medical device RM processes are outlined in ISO 14971:2019.
Research Use Only, or RUO, is a term used to indicate that a medical device product or instrument does not have an intended medical purpose and instead is to be used for research purposes only. Devices used for research in IVD product development are often labeled RUO.
Software as a Medical Device, or SaMD, is a class of software used for medical functions, without needing a hardware component to serve that function. An application or software that's used to diagnose, cure, prevent, or mitigate disease are all considered to be classes of SaMD.
A Supplier Corrective Action Request, or SCAR, is a formal notice sent to a supplier by a medical device company upon the observance of issues related to nonconforming products or materials. Such issues impact the quality of the provided goods, and the purpose of the SCAR is to solicit action from the supplier to identify and correct the issue(s) raised.
Substantial Equivalence, or SE, is a regulatory requirement by FDA for market clearance of new products through a 510(k) premarket submission. To declare substantial equivalence, a company must prove their device is as safe and effective as a similar predicate device. SE is required for regulatory submissions for which a premarket approval (PMA) is not required.
The Safe Medical Devices Act, or SMDA, is a law which passed in 1990 establishing HHS as the governing authority over device user facilities to report incidents in which a medical device may have caused or contributed to the serious injury, illness, or death of a patient.
A Standard Operating Procedure, or SOP, is an internal procedure created by an organization to standardize a routine process for ease of repeatable. A SOP is typically a written document comprised of a series of prescriptive instructions to be followed by individuals and teams. Medical device companies are required to create and maintain SOPs for routine processes as part of their QMS.
Statistical Process Control, or SPC, is a method used to control a process through the use of statistical techniques. This involves compiling data from a process and building cause and effect models to predict and account for various outcomes.
Significant Risk, or SR, is a measure of risk as defined by ISO 14971. Any device that poses a serious risk to the health or safety of a human subject is categorized as SR.
Single-Use Devices, or SUDs, are disposable devices intended to be used for a singular event or procedure for one patient only. These devices are to be disposed after use rather than sanitized and re-used.
Summary Technical Documentation, or STED, is format manufacturers can use to record required information about how a medical device was designed, developed, and manufactured for submission to a Regulatory Authority or Notified Body to demonstrate conformity. The STED format represents the documentation required for Technical Files.
A Technical File, or Design Dossier for Class III devices, includes specific details about a medical device's design, composition, intended use, function, and clinical evaluation. TF are a key requirement of obtaining CE marking for a device.
Unique Device Identification, or UDI, is a system established by the FDA to catalog and identify each individual device for sale in the U.S. market by assigning a custom identifier that can be read by both humans and machines. A UDI is distinct from a Universal Product Code (UPC), as the UDI is used to identify a medical device on the FDA website via the AccessGUDID portal.
A Universal Product Code, or UPC, is a code printed on retail packaging consisting of a barcode and a 12-digit number. The code can be used to track inventory for retailers and is considered to be an alternative tracking method to UDI, the official identification system used by FDA.
Verification and Validation, also known as V&V, are activities for testing and confirming whether a medical device meets the design procedures and is ready to be released for manufacture. Design verification ensures you designed the device correctly and design validation ensures you designed the correct device. These processes tend to involve careful tests, trials, and analyses.
Voluntary Action Indicated, or VAI, is a term used by the FDA in establishment inspection reports (EIR) to indicate regulatory action is not required, following the observance of objectionable conditions or practices during an inspection. On the contrary, Official Action Indicated (OAI) would indicate regulatory or administrative action is required by FDA to correct an issue found during an inspection.
A Warning Letter (WL) is an official notice made by FDA in response to regulatory violations that have been escalated from a 483 observation. Violations may include anything from wrongful claims about the device to missing design controls. A WL will provide a detailed explanation of the violation and what is required of companies for a corrective action plan.
Work in Progress, or WIP, is a term used to refer to partially finished goods in manufacturing or within a design history record (DHR). Inventory that has entered the manufacturing process and can no longer be classed as raw materials but is not yet a finished product is classed as WIP.
Having easy access to all the relevant terms and acronyms is a must for any medical device professional. We recommend that you bookmark this page, so you can use it for reference at any time during the course of your work.
For more information, you can follow the links or search the Greenlight Guru blog for extended guides on the topics described in our above list. If you’re interested in learning more about our Medical Device Quality Management System solution, click here for a free demo of our QMS software.
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Jon is the founder of Greenlight Guru (the leading cloud-based platform purpose-built for MedTech companies) and a medical device guru with over 20 years of industry experience. Jon knows the best medical device companies in the world use quality as an accelerator. That's why he created Greenlight Guru to help...