• Training Effectiveness – A Quality by Design Approach

    In the role of a consultant, you have the benefit of seeing what works well across your client base and their shared common pain points. Because of this perspective, I’m often invited onto a project to provide guidance on best practices and practical advice on how to avoid the common pain points.

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  • How Donald Trump and/or Hillary Clinton Would “CAPA the USA” if Elected in 2016

    Although a long list of candidates make up the list of “eligibles” for the 2016 Presidential election, it’s fairly apparent that the two most conspicuous candidates are, respectively, Democrat Hillary Clinton and Republican Donald Trump. These two candidates, though liked and disliked by various population pockets across the United States, have certainly managed to make names for themselves within their various areas of expertise.

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  • How Scary are the Device Safety Requirements in IEC 60601-1 Edition 3.1?

    Few things are more frightening to an overwhelmed and under-resourced medical device manufacturer than a change to a regulatory standard, particularly if it’s a big one. (Cue creepy music.) Such is the case with IEC 60601-1 Edition 3.1, the internationally recognized standard that addresses the general requirements for medical electrical equipment and devices. Amendment 1, which was introduced in 2012, contains more than 250 changes to the text of the standard, many of which significantly alter the standard’s meaning and/or intent. Scary, right? Even scarier, the FDA will begin enforcing the new requirements as early as August 2016. Yikes!

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  • What Do You Do? A Short and a Long Answer

    I was recently asked point-blank: What does MasterControl do? I was being interviewed for a medical device publication’s podcast, so the question was expected. Still, it forced me to mull over the company’s mission and accomplishments in the past 13 years under my leadership.

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  • 6 Steps to Simplify Software Validation

    Validation is one of the most time-consuming and resource-intensive activities when implementing eQMS software in a regulated environment, often delaying implementation and an organization’s ability to go live with new software.

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  • My eQMS Consultant is Gone—Now What? 4 Post Go-Live Survival Tips

    In my April 9, 2015 post, I offered eight tips for planning a seamless software go-live. This post picks up where that one left off to answer an important question many clients wrestle with after a successful go-live: What do you do when your software implementation consultant is no longer part of your day to day operations?

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  • eMDR Compliance Deadline Looms: Last Minute Tips for Procrastinators

    In February of 2014, the FDA issued a final rule amending 21 C.F.R. Part 803, Medical Device Reporting, to require medical device manufacturers and importers to submit initial and supplemental MDRs in an electronic format via the Electronic Submissions Gateway (ESG), rather than in paper form through Form FDA 3500A. The compliance deadline of August 14, 2015, is fast approaching! Will you be ready?

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  • Basics: Documenting a Real QMS

    Using ISO  parlance, a management system is designed to achieve objectives.   In the case of a quality management system (QMS), the most basic objective is to succeed by satisfying customers.  A QMS is a system designed to satisfy customers by providing them with timely, quality products and services.

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  • How to Address the Top 3 Supplier Management Issues

    Medical device manufacturers rely on suppliers for many things. Choosing the right vendors and managing them effectively can increase a manufacturer’s efficiency—in terms of time, cost, and quality. Unfortunately, suppliers can also sometimes put their clients in hot water when their quality standards are below par.

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  • The Nine Elements of Lean Configuration

    The allure of finally terminating your paper quality management system (QMS) feels very liberating. You can see the excitement in everyone's eyes during the new QMS software presentation.  Gone will be the days of paper engineering change notice---everything will be circulated and approved electronically and finally everyone will have time to do their jobs. They can hardly wait to tell their cubicle buddies about the new world they will soon live in.

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  • Medical Device Development: Thinking Globally, Acting Locally

    The global healthcare and healthcare service market will maintain steady growth due in large part to an aging population that is living longer and to improved healthcare services in emerging markets that include China, Brazil, India, Japan, Israel, and South Korea, among others. It is interesting to note that countertrends seem to be developing in the medical device space; for example, hospital utilization of medical devices has slowed significantly, reimbursements continue to tighten, and there was a first-time global decrease (5%) in US premarket approvals (PMAs) in 2012, a trend that continued into 2013. There were also fluctuations in investor healthcare spending across 2012, drops in mergers & acquisitions deal value and deal counts, and a device tax that is adding to the squeeze.

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  • Questions All Auditors Should Ask: The Use and Misuse of Audit Checklists

    There’s nothing wrong with using a good checklist, as long as you remember that there will always be something wrong with your checklist. It is simply not possible to develop a checklist that will get to the core of every problem, that will cover every scenario, or that will ever be any reasonable substitute for that all important question: “Why?” So how can you develop the best checklists possible and avoid relying on them too heavily?

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  • Partnering with Quality Professionals Worldwide

    MasterControl has grown our reach significantly over the last 10 years—from a small provider of a narrowly focused document control product to one of the largest organizations in the world focused on helping quality and compliance professionals achieve their purpose. I have met with many of the world’s top quality professionals over the past 10 years and I have been amazed by their devotion and commitment. I have recently found myself asking the question: What drives these dedicated people? Why are they so passionate about their jobs? I believe I have found the answer and it has had a strong effect on how I view MasterControl’s mission.

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  • How Can You Measure the Return on Your QMS Investment?

    Every provider of electronic quality management systems claims its product will give you a significant return on your investment. But how can this ROI be truly measured? To find out, MasterControl recently surveyed customers to learn more about their levels of waste and efficiency before and after implementation of MasterControl's quality management system (QMS). Some of the results of the survey are compiled here in an informative infographic.

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  • How to Cut Your Document-Approval Cycle Time Using Escalation

    From SOPs and procedures to CAPAs and deviations, most regulated companies maintain document-based and form-based processes for compliance and business reasons. How do you get approval for your documents and forms? How many processes do you have and how long is your approval cycle time for each one?

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  • The Top 6 Pains in DHF Management

    In my experience working in medical device product development and product management, maintaining the design history file (DHF) posed daunting challenges because it was a process that continued throughout the lifecycle of a product. Even years after a medical device is launched, it’s not uncommon for the technical lead to revisit the DHF because the product is undergoing an iteration or it’s being launched in another part of the world.

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  • On the Quality of Vendor/Supplier Audit Responses

    After writing, revising, and signing the finalized audit report, most independent auditors move on to their next project.

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  • Changing Supplier Controls Requirements

    Companies that choose to produce medical products come under the regulatory laws of the countries in which they market their products. For the U.S., this falls under the purview of the U.S. FDA, with its CGMPs, “Current [best practices] Good Manufacturing Practices”, as codified in 21 CFR 4, Combination Products, 21 CFR 111, Dietary Supplements, 21 CFR 211, Pharmaceuticals, and 21 CFR 820, Medical Devices, and others.

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  • An Introduction to Metrics Collection and Usage

    Most companies understand that the collection of data can be valuable but often don’t really rationalize what they want to collect.

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  • Responding to FDA 483s: Do’s, Don’ts, and When to Call In a Remediation Partner

    Operating under the oversight of the FDA and other global regulatory agencies creates a climate of transparency for regulated companies; any misstep can result in severe consequences such as product seizures, recalls, or company closure. Therefore, the way you respond to FDA Form-483 observations, warning letters, and other critical events is vital to your company's survival. Having a sound quality management system in place is critical, but when remedial action is necessary, time is of the essence. After all, you have only 15 working days from the receipt of the 483 to respond!

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