Regulatory Information Management (RIM) systems are becoming more prevalent in medical technology companies of all sizes. Yet many regulatory teams still rely on spreadsheets and software designed for other purposes, such as quality systems or pharmaceutical regulatory applications. When your team is ready for a medical device RIM system, what information and arguments can you use to obtain the budget and executive buy-in you will need?
In this article, we discuss the benefits of a RIM system that can be used in calculating and estimating ROI, along with examples of results achieved by Rimsys customers.
Arguably the greatest benefit to implementing a RIM system is the increased process efficiencies it brings, but this benefit is often the most difficult to quantify. It is not difficult to imagine that moving from spreadsheets and manual processes to a dedicated regulatory information management system will improve efficiency, but how do you measure this?
A strong RIM system not only helps to reduce the risk and cost associated with staff turnover, but can also help reduce turnover in the first place! When RA staff turns over, or a new member joins the team, a RIM system will provide:
A RIM system also speeds up the onboarding process new RA team members, which can otherwise take 6 months or more for employees to get fully up to speed on the product portfolio, in-flight and upcoming projects, and previous interactions with health authorities.
Providing your existing RA team with a well-implemented RIM system reduces the time they spend searching for information, allowing them to spend more time doing what they do best—implementing regulatory strategies and managing the regulatory affairs of the company. Your RA team will be more productive, feel more empowered, and be more likely to say in their role.
Medtech regulatory teams need to ensure that they are staying current with ever-changing global regulations, guidance documents, and standards. Each change needs to be evaluated for its impact on items such as existing GSPRs and pending compliance deadlines (think of the changing UDI labeling and database deadlines in many countries). RA teams are also responsible for ensuring that required reporting and submission deadlines are met for every product in every country in which they are sold.
RA teams that rely on manual processes and spreadsheets are opening their companies to a higher level of compliance risk than those using holistic RIM systems. RIM systems can automate many of the processes required to ensure regulatory compliance, including:
Without a central regulatory system and automated processes, required regulatory actions may be missed resulting in expired registrations that require products to be pulled from the market or audit findings resulting from information being incomplete or unavailable.
In addition, RIM systems like Rimsys are designed to be verified under 21 CFR part 11 requirements and provide quick access to data required during an audit or by a notified body or regulatory agency.
Many of the RIM advantages discussed above also lead directly to cost savings. When making the case for a RIM system in your organization, use as much specific data as possible - including average RA salary and time-savings estimates based on your team and processes. In general, though, consider that:
In addition, a RIM system may allow you to reduce the cost of outside consultants and contracted regulatory work. Medtech regulatory consultants can charge between $150 and $300 an hour - resulting in consultant fees in the millions of dollars for many medical device manufactuers. One Rimsys customer was able to eliminate 15 consultants at the time they implemented the Rimsys RIM solution.
Cost of non-compliance
If your organization is found to be out of compliance by any regulatory agency, the cost can be extremely high. Not only must you put time and effort into becoming compliant, but you may likely face fees, penalties, higher consultant fees, and other direct costs. If a product needs to be removed from a market, and then re-approved, the costs can be significant. The largest concern for most companies, however, may be the costs associated with a well-publicized non-compliance issue (often following an adverse event or major quality issue). While difficult to quantify, if your company has faced major recalls or other public issues, use the actual lost revenue and increased cost numbers as available.
According to a McKinsey report, the average share value of a company experiencing a major quality event drops by 16.8%. The same report lists the average cost of a recall in companies surveyed at $2 million, a warning letter at $1 million, and a consent decree at $400 million (this last number is one consent decree at a single company).
We believe that regulatory teams do not get enough credit for driving revenue within their organizations. A well-run regulatory team with the right tools drives:
Looking for information and data you can use to make the case for budget or leadership buy-in for a regulatory information management project? Download our RIM ROI infographic for a quick reference of all of the potential cost savings and revenue growth that can be realized with a RIM system.