Is there a relationship between medical devices and human factors? This is a question that is seriously worth exploring. According to the ANSI/AAMI HE75:2009 document, human factors is an endeavor for optimizing the production of devices, systems, and many others concerned with them through the use of emotional, intellectual, physical and sensory forms of human knowledge. Both the ways in which these elements are used to enhance production, as well as the limitations inherent into them are factored in. In essence; human factors deal with how humans and devices or machines interact with each other.
Since human factors places the human mind at the center; design and aesthetics play a very prominent role in this discipline. Being an important element of user interface; human factors and user interface have risen in prominence after the explosion of the field of IT. It however, can be put into use in several other areas. The user being the fulcrum of any area of production; human factors has the potential to be a major factor in creating and shaping user interface for a range of products.
Use in medical devices
How about the area of medical devices? We have seen that user interface and aesthetics are core ingredients of human factors. Are these the major determinants for the field of medical devices? Yes and no. Yes, because the user is of critical importance in medical devices. A wrong instruction or wrong usage can severely compromise the use of medical devices and can go the extent of even causing harm to the user.
No, because when it comes to another equally important element of human factors, namely aesthetics, the interplay between medical devices and human factors may not appear so pronounced. Yet, while role of aesthetics may not be all that critical to medical devices; there is a related aspect, and that is design.
The role of design is very prominent when it comes to the user interface of medical devices since medical devices have to be designed to absolutely precise specifications. Even small deviations or variations can result in harm to humans. Both the patient and the organization manufacturing the devices need to face consequences as a result of these.
As far as medical devices are concerned, the FDA is tasked with regulating them for ensuring their safety and effectiveness. The incorporation of the principles of human factors into medical devices ensures that the product meets specification, design and quality standards and thus becomes faster and less expensive to market. It is because of these factors that human factors are becoming part of the design and development, as well as of the supplementary aspects of medical devices, such as Instructions for Use, labeling and even training.
FDA’s regulations on human factors in medical devices
Under 21 CFR 820.30; the FDA emphasizes that human factors need to be taken into consideration for the following:
- Design input: To ensure that the needs of the patient and any others who may use the product are taken into consideration
- Design verification: To make sure that the criteria for performance set for the medical are being consistently met, and
- Design validation: To safeguard that the device conform to predefined user needs as well as intended uses, and to also sure that testing is carried out to ensure this function. Software validation and risk analysis are part of this testing.
The FDA has also been placing emphasis on human factors in medical devices in many guidance documents and a number of upcoming Draft Guidance documents.
Full learning on human factors in medical devices
A seminar that is being organized by GlobalCompliancePanel, a leading provider of professional trainings for the areas of regulatory compliance will offer complete learning on human factors in medical devices.
Virginia A. Lang, Principal and Founder HirLan, Inc. and HirLan International SA, will be the Director of this seminar. To gain knowledge of how human factors related to medical devices, please register for this seminar by visiting Do human factors matter in medical devices? This course has been pre-approved by RAPS as eligible for up to 12 credits towards a participant’s RAC recertification upon full completion.
A complete explanation of regulations and uses of human factors in medical devices
The core aim of this seminar is to familiarize participants with the way in which human factors can be applied into medical devices. Towards covering this, she will explain all the current and upcoming human factors requirements, using which, participants will learn how to keep costs under control and reduce the time for the manufacture and marketing of their products.
Virginia will cover the following areas at this seminar:
- Overview of Human Factors and the FDA perspective
- Human Factors Methods and Device Product Life Cycle
- Human Factors and Risk Analysis & Management
- Human Factors: What Devices Require Human Factors Evaluation and Validation?
- Human Factors and Combination Products
- Human Factors and Combination Products Submitted in an ANDA.