For medical device manufacturers, the compliance deadline is looming for the European Union's In Vitro Diagnostic Regulation (IVDR) for critical in vitro devices used to detect life-threatening diseases. It comes into force in May 2022 replacing the In Vitro Diagnostics Directive (IVDD), and is designed to enhance the safety, effectiveness and traceability of all in vitro devices currently sold or intended for sale in the EU market.
Over 80% of devices that previously did not require certification under IVDD will be covered by IVDR certification, so that means a lot more work for device manufacturers.
The new regulation is closely linked to the EU Medical Device Regulation (MDR), which is currently coming into force for multiple classes of medical devices. For those manufacturers that have already completed initial projects to comply with MDR by May 2021, it may be tempting to sit back and delay their IVDR efforts. But there have been significant lessons learned from MDR compliance attempts, not least the scale of these compliance tasks and the wide-ranging impact regulation has on end-to-end operations.
Setting a course for IVDR compliance
Manufacturers that fail to ensure compliance with new regulations face losing revenue, market share, and even irreparably damaging brand reputation by exposing consumers to harm. Device manufacturers will need to start to plan now to deliver full compliance ahead of the IVDR deadline. This must span initial assessments to identify affected assets and project scale, processing label and artwork changes to satisfy new requirements and deploying fit-for-purpose technology to help automate compliance actions.
There are four critical focus areas where medical device manufacturers can take positive strides to ensure IVDR compliance:
1. Get to grips with the scale of the task as soon as possible
When working with medical manufacturers to reach MDR compliance, Kallik has often found that changes needed to span multiple sites, geographies and over 150,000 assets in some cases. It’s crucial that initial assessments capture the scale of the changes required, and that means being able to identify exactly how many devices and associated labels and artworks exist across global operations.
Complexities are introduced when data is housed in legacy systems, across disconnected regional offices and departments or scattered assets. Product translations and global supply chains can significantly add time and complexity onto a project. For example, amending individual phrase translations on each device in a product range for each of the EU’s 24 official languages threatens to add substantial time to compliance efforts.
Add in the possibility of further M&A activity bringing in new product lines and asset libraries and this issue is multiplied further.
2. Prioritize asset consolidation and standardization
Once all information siloes have been unearthed, before actioning label and artwork changes, manufacturers should look to consolidate all assets into a single, central source. Attempting to manage editing, review and approvals processes across multiple systems and departments is both highly inefficient and runs the risk of introducing costly version errors and further delays.
This is where businesses need to lean on an off-the-shelf label and artwork management solution that incorporates a single, centralized asset library to contain artwork, logos, phrases and other critical product data. Automated capabilities, such as those provided by the Kallik Veraciti™ label and artwork management (LAM) platform, aid with the extraction of content from data siloes and legacy systems, including supporting the subsequent standardisation and loading of data into a central cloud-based solution.
Consolidating all assets into an easily accessible ‘single source of truth’ significantly eases the monitoring, editing and management burdens when compared to attempting to do so across multiple systems and geographies.
3. Get down to the detail with a helping hand from LAM technology
Once existing assets have been consolidated, manufacturers can begin to enact the changes that must be made to each label and artwork.
There are many factors to consider here, from label sizing and placement, to warning symbol positioning and Unique Device Identifier (UDI) inclusion – and these can be further complicated by country-by-country requirements.
This is another situation where the consolidation of assets into a single LAM solution yields dividends. The Kallik Veraciti platform provides a powerful ‘Where Used’ feature that enables users to rapidly identify all labels affected by a minor design change and take action accordingly. Combining this capability with approved label templates within the LAM solution means users can effortlessly make changes to all labels in a product range – eliminating the need to manually identify and update each impacted asset.
4. Automation eliminates manual processes to ease the compliance workload
As many businesses experienced during the initial MDR May 2021 compliance push, relying purely on ‘traditional’ methods and updating assets through manual work and processes has become increasingly unviable. These have been found to be typically slow, costly and risk introducing human error.
Deploying a cloud-based, centralized solution with a high degree of automation eliminates the uncertainty of manual processes. The result is an efficient operation, following best-practice procedures, providing a pre-defined outcome.
Modern LAM solutions offer a greater amount of automation and more importantly, the potential for future efficiencies through for example AI integration. Such solutions harness rules-based automation to eliminate the need to manually search for, update and republish assets to ensure compliance, and deliver significant cost and capacity savings that scale over time.
Start automating now to steal a march on EU IVDR
With IVDR coming into force in May 2022, medical device manufacturers still have time on their side if they act now. Automation holds the key to ensuring they have the agility, adaptability and accuracy required to meet new regulations, and this comes by putting a dedicated label and artwork management platform in place to underpin their compliance efforts – now and into the future.
Want to know more about how automated label and artwork management solutions can help your business comply with IVDR and future industry regulations? Download our latest white paper.