When we think of medtech regulatory affairs it’s easy to focus in on pre-market activities: the identification of market entrance requirements and the submission process to obtain market clearance for a new device. This is an important aspect of the work that RA teams do, but it’s definitely not all they do.
The reality is that regulatory work is never done because products are never done. Medtech companies are consistently making product updates, whether optimizing manufacturing or supply chains, adding accessories, working with new materials, or releasing software updates. This is normal, but in a highly-regulated industry, any of these changes can have an impact on a product’s license or market clearance status.
Impact assessments of new regulations, product or manufacturing changes, or standards updates are a core RA activity and one that we’ve focused on automating within Rimsys. Our unique “product-centric” data structure allows registrations, submissions, standards, and technical files to be linked to individual products. This association means that any RA team member can instantly pull a list of products that may be impacted by a standards change, or, conversely, a list of registrations that may be impacted by a product change.
Now we’ve enhanced Rimsys’ impact assessment capabilities by allowing teams to survey registration owners or country managers and collect their individual feedback about the impact of pending changes.
Communication and feedback within a broader regulatory team is a critical component of any impact assessment. In larger organizations, different teams often have responsibility for different regions, whether those are dedicated RA teams, consultants, or in-country representatives. A product or manufacturing change can impact any number of country registrations in different ways, so to properly assess the regulatory workload needed to process the change, teams need to gather and document input across the extended RA team.
Traditionally this activity has involved a flurry of emails, some shared spreadsheets, and no clear tracking or management, making it time-consuming and difficult to effectively collect this information.The new impact survey feature from Rimsys automates this task and centrally collects all of the necessary feedback within a consolidated project plan.
Impact surveys are included in the projects module in Rimsys. Now, when you start a new project request you can automatically send a survey to all of the owners for registrations that are associated with the project. Owners are notified to log into Rimsys, review the product details and any linked documentation, and fill out a short form to document whether they think their particular registration will be impacted by the proposed project, the remediation required (registration update, audit, etc.), and the expected time required.
Registrations where the owner indicates an impact are automatically flagged, and a progress bar provides an at-a-glance view of the survey status (completed responses, pending responses, % of registrations impacted). When the project request is approved, all impacted registrations and timeline are carried over to the active project plan.
The new survey feature is another key piece in our goal to streamline and automate as many regulatory activities as possible. Centralizing the surveys within the Rimsys platform ensures that everybody has access to the information they need to assess the impact of proposed changes on specific markets and registrations. It allows surveys to be completed more quickly and ensures that all of the potential impacts are incorporated into a project plan.
This allows RA teams to work more quickly, but more importantly, it ensures that all potential impacts are properly identified, preventing project delays and eliminating noncompliance risks. If a product design change unexpectedly invalidates a license in a particular country, companies may have no choice but to withdraw that product until it can be recertified. Regulatory automation isn’t just about increasing efficiency, it can also have a significant revenue impact.
Want to learn more about automated impact assessments in Rimsys? Contact us today for a custom demo.