Medical Device Initiative

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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:

Our Work

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  • Innovative Registry Approaches

    The webinar examined key challenges that registries face in collecting critical data on the performance of medical devices, as well as innovative ways they have addressed these challenges.  Read More

  • Creating a 21st-Century Medical Device Surveillance System

    The Food and Drug Administration has scheduled a hearing in response to public concerns about Essure, a nonsurgical, permanent female sterilization device. Since FDA approved the product in 2002, the agency has received reports on 5,093 adverse events, including six deaths. The hearing coincides with a landmark event for medical device safety: the compliance date requiring that all... Read More

  • Implementing Unique Device Identification

    Patients rely on medical devices to replace failing joints, fix irregular heart rhythms, test blood sugar, unblock clogged arteries, diagnose disease, and improve their health in other ways. Yet for many years these devices have lacked industrywide standard identification numbers, a shortcoming that hinders hospital efforts to track inventory, prevents physicians and patients from having complete... Read More

Featured Event

Realizing the Benefits of the Unique Device Identifier in Health Care

An event co-hosted by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, and The Pew Charitable Trusts


Media Contact

Marjorie Connolly

Associate, Communications