Summary: The WHO has launched MeDevIS, an online platform providing comprehensive information on medical devices to aid governments, regulators, and users in making informed decisions regarding medical device selection, procurement, and use.

Key Takeaways:

  • MeDevIS offers detailed information on 2,301 types of medical devices, supporting a range of health issues and simplifying device selection and procurement processes.
  • The platform references international naming systems EMDN and GMDN, facilitating global regulatory approval and improving device tracking and pricing.

The World Health Organization (WHO) has introduced an online platform called MeDevIS (Medical Devices Information System), the first global open access clearinghouse for information on medical devices. It is designed to support governments, regulators and users in their decision-making on selection, procurement and use of medical devices for diagnostics, testing and treatment of diseases and health conditions.

Comprehensive Device Information

The MeDevIS platform includes 2,301 types of medical devices used for a broad-ranging health issues, including reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, noncommunicable diseases such as cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes as well as infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

“The number of medical technologies used in healthcare is growing, as is their complexity, which can make it challenging for healthcare practitioners and patients to navigate,” said Dr Yukiko Nakatani, WHO assistant director-general for access to medicines and health products. “We aim to provide a one stop shop of international information, which can be invaluable for those making decisions on life-saving medical technologies, especially in resource-limited settings, and to improve access”.

Variety of Medical Devices

There are over 10,000 different medical devices that are being used for protection, prevention, diagnostics, treatment or rehabilitation of health issues globally. These include multiple simple and complex medical technologies ranging from pulse oximeters, digital thermometers, single-use syringes, and medical masks to various diagnostic laboratory tests and other medical equipment including electrocardiograms, endoscopes, all imaging radiology technologies, and technologies used for treatments such as hemodialysis units and defibrillators, implantable protheses, cardiac stents, and complex radiotherapy equipment.

Simplifying Information Access

Currently there are multiple, separate sources of information produced by major international organizations, regulatory bodies, and donor agencies, making it difficult for users to discern and utilize the most reliable data. In MeDevIS, users can check devices they require, including type, level of healthcare systems to support the device (such as community or specialized hospitals), scope of the device, and infrastructure required, among other categories.

MeDevIS replaces paper-based literature search across multiple publications with non-standard device names which can add to the complexity. Along with providing a single platform, MeDevIS also aims to help make the naming of the medical devices simpler.

International Naming Systems

MeDevIS references two international naming systems for medical devices – the European Medical Device Nomenclature (EMDN), mostly used in European countries for registration in the European database, and the Global Medical Device Nomenclature (GMDN) used in regulatory agencies in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the USA and other Member States. The naming systems include coding and definitions and can be used in every country to facilitate registration for regulatory approval, procurement and supply, inventories in health facilities, tracking and pricing.

“The MeDevIS platform can be useful for national policy-makers to develop or update their own national lists for procurement of health technologies and devices and can contribute to the progress towards universal health coverage,” said Dr Deus Mubangizi, WHO director for health products policy and standards in the access to medicines and health products division. “It can also help agencies in health insurance and reimbursement policies for patients.”