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Compliance In Focus
Posted by Mary Lewis on Thu, Sep 10, 2015

Can Improving Quality in Device Trials Shorten Time to Market?             

A medical device company files a marketing application with FDA and awaits a determination on whether or not its clinical trial data is sufficient to support product approval and/or clearance.

Modern companies cannot operate today without a quality system and if they are sponsoring clinical research, oversight of clinical studies should fall under their quality system. CDRH conducts on the order of 300 Bioresearch Monitoring (BIMO) inspections per year and annually publishes details of its inspectional findings in medical device trials. Year after year, the following items are commonly cited:

Sponsor Inspections

Investigator Inspections

Inadequate monitoring

Failure to follow investigational plan or regulations

Failure to secure
investigator compliance

Inadequate subject
protection and Informed Consent

Inadequate device accountability

Protocol deviations

Obtain FDA/IRB approval

Inadequate device accountability

 As clinical research professionals, what can we do to improve these findings?   I have a few thoughts…

  1. Create and implement a monitoring plan that combines on-site with remote monitoring activities. Use on-site monitoring more frequently early-on to check on study start-up at the site. Be on-site to answer questions and re-train as needed on screening and eligibility, consenting, the protocol and data collection as the first few patients are enrolled. This will address initiation issues early on and demonstrate the Sponsor’s commitment to compliance. As the study progresses, remote monitoring can be utilized to routinely check for data omissions, outliers and clerical errors and to keep sites aware of and on track with protocol required follow-up visits.
  2. When working with “must have” investigators, keep in mind that they are the thought leaders in the target field of research. These men and women have assumed a leading role in the constantly dynamic research environment. They may need, on occasion, to be reminded that trial data collected under a multi-center protocol needs to be poolable and collected with a goal of zero protocol deviations.        
  3. What is it about device accountability inadequacy that makes it appear as a common inspectional finding? We need to dig down to help Sponsors and Clinical Investigators understand and address this inadequacy gap.  
  4. Last, but certainly not least, is protecting human subjects. Clinical research would not happen without subject volunteers. We need to do everything we can to make sure that subjects have complete and current understandable information regarding the risk/benefit of the studies in which they’re volunteering to participate. From screening through last visit, we must be ever vigilant of their rights, safety and welfare.

A well-controlled, ethically conducted clinical study with accurate data is fit to assess the safety and effectiveness of an investigational product. I’ll ask my blog question again- as clinical research professionals, what can we do to improve BIMO findings?   I’ve shared a few thoughts, what are yours?

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Topics: Quality Improvement, Medical Device Trials, FDA


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