A Medical Device Recall of an EHR-like Product

A Medical Device Recall of an EHR-like Product

The recent recall (links below) for McKesson’s Anesthesia Care system raises interesting questions about potential information system failure modes as well as what system/software functions cross the imaginary line between unregulated EHRs and regulated medical devices.

First the facts. The FDA announced McKesson’s voluntary recall of its Anesthesia Care system in several on-line (here, here and here)  postings. This trio of postings is interesting because the first links only to the second, the second does not link to either of the other two. The third also does not link to the other two, and was not part of any of the announcements, but it is the most complete.

The statement of the reason for the recall is that, “There was an occurrence where the patient case data did not match the patient data when the case was recalled in the anesthesia care record (ACR) in that it included data from another case.” It was further noted that, “Use of this affected product may cause serious adverse health consequences, including death.”  In the third link the FDA identifies the product as,

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2012 – Year for mHealth?

2012 – Year for mHealth?

I received several items in my email regarding different organizations’ proclamations for 2012.  Most of them predict that 2012 will be the year for mHealth to ‘break-out.’  Here are 5 examples:

  1. HIMSS 2012 is focusing on mHealth with several sessions and will have a kiosk on the vendor floor which features speakers on the mobile aspect of healthcare
  2. AAMI has published in their IT World column a synopsis of mHealth (requires login credentials)
  3. Here in Europe, the Mobile World Congress, Barcelona Feb 2012, sponsored by the GSM Association, has a track devoted to mHealth (filter for Mobile Health), a day of demonstrations and a specific plan on embedded mobile medical functionality.
  4. Additionally, the FDA has come out with draft guidance and has promised final guidance regarding mobile medical apps.  The European Commission has entered into an MOU with the HHS to work together on the regulatory aspects of healthcare.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they come out with similar regulatory guidance regarding mHealth as that promulgated by the FDA.
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Navigating Regulatory Uncertainty for Smartphones

Navigating Regulatory Uncertainty for Smartphones

Uncertainty abounds regarding the potential regulation of smartphone apps by FDA and other international regulatory bodies. For this discussion we’ll divide uncertainty into two categories, uncertainty due to a lack of knowledge about the potential regulations on the part of manufacturers and uncertainty about just what various regulatory agencies are doing – or going to do – about new and innovative products that meet the definition of a medical device.

What is a Medical Device?

Let’s start with the first category; there is an astounding amount of misinformation and just plain wrong-headedness on the part of many vendors (and providers) who are outside the ranks of traditional medical device manufacturers. The first issue we need to address is the question, “What is a medical device?” Here’s the legal definition of a medical device, courtesy of FDA:

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Final MDDS Rule Signals FDA Shift to Enforcement

Final MDDS Rule Signals FDA Shift to Enforcement

On February 14, 2011 the FDA published notice (PDF version [link fixed] and press release) of the long awaited final rule for medical device data systems (MDDS). The real news behind the final MDDS rule is not the less-burdensome path to market trumpeted by many news stories, but the FDA’s stated intent to exercise “enforcement discretion” with regard to those who create MDDS. For the MDDS vendors who are already regulated (Capsule Tech, Cardiopulmonary Corp, Dawning TechnologiesNuvon and others) this final rule is an easing of the regulatory burden. For those that aren’t (e.g., Bridge-Tech Medical, CareTrends, iSirona and others – I currently track 16 companies in the MDDS category) this final rule signals that FDA enforcement actions will be forthcoming for manufacturers that don’t meet FDA’s implementation deadlines (more on that later).

The final rule reclassifies MDDS from a Class III postamendment device to Class I (general controls). Device reclassification has been used before to signal industry that FDA is transitioning from “regulatory discretion,” where the FDA takes a wait-and-see approach to nascent markets, to pursuing “enforcement discretion” to actively regulate new market segments.

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Impact of Potential FDA Regulation of EMRs

Santa Rosa Consulting has a great series of webinars on medical device connectivity and related issues, and I’ve been tapped for the October webinar. My topic revolves around the likely regulation of EMRs by the FDA and the potential impacts such a change might have on providers and manufacturers.

The following is my first take on the topic, and serves as a description of webinar. Any suggestions, points of view and links to relevant content on the Web (news stories, blog posts, regulations, etc.) is welcome.

Register for this webinar here, to be held on October 27, 2010 from noon to 1pm EST.

The Case for Regulating EMRs

From a quarter century point of view, it seems inevitable that the HIT industry will be regulated by the FDA. Look past all the hand waving and hyperventilating caused by this suggestion, and one sees that the HIT industry is already regulated by the FDA. For examples, look no further than blood bank software and PACS. The Center for Biologics Evaluation and Research (CBER) started regulating blood bank software via the premarket submission process in 1996. From their inception, the FDA considered PACS as accessories to diagnostic imaging modalities, and thus regulated. (Many PACS components have since been reclassified in recognition of their independence from imaging modalities.)

These examples aside, the HIT industry has pretty much avoided FDA scrutiny by claiming they’re just automating administrative tasks and paperwork (i.e., workflow around the paper chart).With the advent of decision support systems tied to CPOE and other applications, “administrative” HIT systems have come to be increasingly recognized as a source of patient safety risk. See Margalit Gur-Arie’s post at the KevinMD blog.Perhaps the story that’s created the most buzz about the danger of EMRs is this Huffington Post piece from April, 2010.

On February 25, 2010, at a HHS panel meeting, Jeff Shuren reported:

The Food & Drug Administration has received 260 reports of health IT-related malfunctions with the potential for patient harm in the past two years, including 44 reported injuries and six reported deaths, said Dr. Jeffrey Shuren, director of FDA’s Center of Devices and Radiological Health.

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