Quality is important in all industries but perhaps more so in the medical industry and for those organizations producing medical devices. Apart from ISO 13485 that defines the requirement for medical device quality management systems, medical device manufacturers have to also comply with the regulations of the country their devices are going to be used within. In an effort to streamline the program for manufacturers the Medical Device Single Audit Program (MDSAP) was devised. The MDSAP program is an audit done of the company to the regulations of five participating countries. It is thus much longer than a regular ISO audit as it has to assess the system against multiple regulatory requirements.
As your company prepares for this new audit scheme perhaps the easiest thing to do is a self-assessment. Use the MDSAP audit model guide to assess whether the company processes meet all the requirements. Conduct a gap assessment and then work to fill in the gaps including keeping records as needed by MDSAP. Just because an organization undergoes MDSAP does not mean that it will not have an ISO 13485 audit as these are two separate schemes. In the conduct of the assessment ensure that the person conducting it is competent to do so. This will avoid any last-minute surprises. Make note that the MDSAP model grades non-conformities differently and so use the same scoring scheme to know what are the priorities that need to be addressed immediately.
Is the leadership prepared? Often in preparing an organization focuses on the lower echelons as also on the processes involved in the design and manufacturing processes. Ensure the leadership is briefed on the model guide and understands the expectations from them. As a part of each audit, the AO focuses on the management and assesses their commitment to the system. The leadership once committed will drive the rest of the organization to follow suit. This will make it easier for those implementing the system and assessing it internally.
Make sure personnel are trained and understand well the expectations. QMII offers a variety of MDSAP offerings that are tailored to meet the requirements of the organization with training for each level of the organization. In addition, QMII also offers ISO 13485 lead auditor training. Organizations must recognize that participating in MDSAP will not exclude them from regulatory audits from other organizations. While the audit program may seem cumbersome at first there are benefits from participating in it that include reduced costs and a streamlined audit process.