Medical devices range from blood glucose test strips and stethoscopes to more complex products, such as pacemakers and joint replacements. These technologies are used in hospitals, doctors’ offices, and in patients’ homes to diagnose, treat, or prevent illness. Many people have benefited from such recent advances, and Americans increasingly rely on medical devices.
However, failures of medical devices over the past two decades demonstrate the need to more quickly identify problems to help ensure the safety of the public. For example, failing metal-on-metal hip replacements and implantable cardioverter defibrillator leads—used by hundreds of thousands of people to detect and correct abnormal heart rhythms—have led to significant patient harm and deaths in recent years.
Pew’s medical device initiative seeks to enhance medical device safety and foster device innovation that benefits patients. Pew’s initiative has three main areas of focus, including:
- Improving the current state of medical device registries—databases containing information on patients who use or are treated with a specific device;
- Supporting the adoption of a unique device identification (UDI) system to better track medical devices; and
- Fostering medical device innovation with these and other new approaches without compromising patient safety.
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On Feb. 2, The Pew Charitable Trusts wrote to the leadership of the U.S. Senate Committee on Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions regarding its proposed health information technology legislation. Read More
The U.S. Senate’s health committee minority staff released a report this week revealing that at least 250 people contracted potentially deadly infections from faulty duodenoscopes—almost double the number previously reported. These findings, and the recommendations contained in the report, underline a need for better data on the safety of medical devices. Read More
On Jan. 4, 2016, The Pew Charitable Trusts wrote to the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services regarding its proposed discharge planning rule. Read More