When I was writing the last blog post for Building a Business Case, I really struggled with how to emphasize the importance of understanding regulatory and certification requirements ahead of time so that you could design your product around any codes or standards you need to meet. Afterwards, I came across “Designing for Regulatory Compliance”. It really goes into detail on the subject and explains how essential this concept is.
“Let’s start by understanding the goals of the regulatory processes. In general, they exist to ensure that safe and effective products are delivered into the market place with appropriate risk-benefit ratios. Every manufacturer, designer, regulatory professional, medical practitioner, and consumer has this as a common goal. However, if this is the case, why are there continually issues? The issues originate in the way regulatory compliance is treated during the development process. It is often seen as an afterthought or a necessary evil to be tested for and sometimes gamed at the end of the process when negative regulatory feedback is very frustrating and expensive. Even one request for additional information can be devastating to a company’s plans and financial well-being. Funding for start-ups and small companies is often tied to regulatory milestones.
So what can you do? With existing ‘design for …’ processes, teams consist of the stakeholders who ensure successful execution of the plans. Similarly, companies can incorporate regulatory affairs professionals (or those with extensive regulatory experience) directly into their design teams to ensure that the regulatory concerns and requirements are addressed in planning and subsequent design phases. This approach encourages the team members to use their experience and expertise to design products and test programs that will allow the creation of regulatory-ready products.
Design for regulatory is a valuable concept, regardless of future changes to agency requirements or processes. Other ‘design for…’ paradigms have shown that up-front, early consideration of tasks that are usually performed at the end of the product development process reduces time to market and costs associated with redesign.
The development of a solid regulatory strategy and the incorporation of regulatory resources into the design process will ensure fewer surprises and allow for more efficient and potentially easier FDA submissions. This paradigm can also yield better competitive information and product positioning and potentially create a competitive advantage in the marketplace.”
Mr. Saltzstein, being an actual product designer, explains the process much better than I could ever hope to.