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There are 11 different types of software validation documents that the FDA requires. One of the documents is a rationale for the “Level of Concern.” Level of Concern (LOC) is a term that the FDA uses to categorize the risk of software as a medical device. There are three levels of concern: 1) Minor, 2) Moderate, and 3) Major.
The following webpage provides FDA guidance on software documentation required in 510(k) submissions: https://www.fda.gov/RegulatoryInformation/Guidances/ucm089543.htm.
To determine the level of concern, you need to answer 7 questions found in the guidance document. If all 7 questions are negative, then the software is a minor level of concern by default.
It is important to read all questions and answer the questions as if you were the FDA. In many companies, the people performing risk analysis will identify risks of delay in treatment as being insignificant risks. However, the FDA typically scores the potential severity of harm much higher. Therefore, it is important to review any guidance documentation provided for your product classification to see if the FDA has already identified the level of concern for your software. If a guidance exists, but the FDA does not specify the level of concern, I recommend sending an email to the person that is responsible for the guidance at the FDA.
For minor and moderate levels of concern, the guidance indicates that less documentation for software validation needs to be submitted as part of your 510(k) submission.
The guidance DOES NOT say that you need to do less software validation or document less. The FDA allows you to submit less documentation for a 510(k), but you still have to do the same work.
A new, 2-day 510(k) workshop will be hosted in Amsterdam by Factory-CRO and my consulting firm. The dates of the workshop are October 11-12, 2017. For more information, please visit the following webpage: http://medicaldeviceacademy.com/amsterdam-510k-workshop/ .
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