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Global medical device nomenclature: The concept for reducing device-related medical errors

Author(s): Anand K | Saini S | Singh B | Veermaram C

Journal: Journal of Young Pharmacists
ISSN 0975-1483

Volume: 2;
Issue: 4;
Start page: 403;
Date: 2010;
Original page

Keywords: CEN | coding system | device safety | ISO | medical errors | Unique device identification

In the medical device field, there are a number of players, having quite different responsibilities and levels of understanding of the processes, but all with one common interest, that of ensuring the availability of sound medical devices to the general public. To assist in this very important process, there is a need for a common method for describing and identifying these medical devices in an unambiguous manner. The Global Medical Device Nomenclature (GMDN) now provides, for the first time, an international tool for identifying all medical devices, at the generic level, in a meaningful manner that can be understood by all users. Prior to the GMDN, many nomenclature systems existed, all built upon different structures, and used locally or nationally for special purposes, with unusual approaches. These diverse systems, although often workable in their own right, have had no impact on improving the overall situation of providing a common platform, whereby, medical devices could be correctly identified and the related data safely exchanged between the involved parties. Work by standard organizations such as, CEN (European Committee for Standardization) and ISO (International Organization for Standardization), from 1993 to 1996, resulted in a standard that specified a structure for a new nomenclature, for medical devices. In this article we are trying to explain GMDN as the prime method to reduce medical device errors, and to understand the concept of GMDN, to regulate the medical device throughout the globe. Here we also make an attempt to explain various aspects of the GMDN system, such as, the process of development of the GMDN-CEN report, purpose, benefits, and their structural considerations. In addition, there will be an explanation of the coding system, role of the GMDN agency, and their utilization in the unique device identification (UDI) System. Finally, the current area of focus and vision for the future are also mentioned.
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