We, and others, like to take the FDA to task for missing deadlines or behaving in ways that are sometimes difficult to fathom. But it’s only fair to give equal space to something when they seem to get it right. Take the Agency’s Unique Device Identification System (UDI).
Readers of this blog might have different experiences with it – and we’d like to hear about them, good or bad – but you’ve got to tip your hat to FDA because they’re trying to get it right.
Last month, FDA launched the Global Unique Device Identification Database (GUDID), a searchable website containing a listing of all UDIs. Expectations, both from industry and the agency, are high for this system implemented to simplify the identification of many regulated medical devices used by patients in the United States.
The complex infrastructure, which will be phased in over several years marked by a variety of deadlines that began in 2014 and are slated to wrap up in 2020, offers a number of potential benefits, including:
- Speeding and improving the accuracy of the reporting, reviewing and analyzing of an adverse event.
- A quicker means to identify a device and extract important information about it.
- Enhancing analysis of devices on the market by providing a standard and clear way to document device use in electronic health records, clinical information systems, claim data sources and registries. A more robust postmarket surveillance system can also be leveraged to support premarket approval or clearance of new devices and new uses of currently marketed devices.
Ultimately FDA hopes its UDI can become a worldwide model, too.
It’s worth noting that FDA’s former point man for the initiative, Jay Crowley, continues to lead the bandwagon now that he’s ensconced in private practice with USDM Life Sciences. He’s led a number of webinars and given a number of talks that make a persuasive case for the positive impact UDI will have on the device industry. Sometimes, a former FDAer spends the next ten years of his or her career criticizing the very program they led. Not the case with Crowley and that bodes well for UDI.