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The FDA and ISO 13485 requires a series of medical device design records. As there are many acronyms and similar terms, we wanted to discuss and define some of the three most similar and often mixed up documents: Design History File (DHF), Device Master Record (DMR) and Device History Record (DHR). 

DESIGN HISTORY FILE (DHF)

Design History File (DHF) is a file that is referenced by the FDA in 21 CFR Part 820, and is now directly discussed in the new ISO 13485:2016 standard. The ISO standard specifies the need to establish design and development files. The DHF specifically relates to design controls- being the last step in which you compile the documents from your design and development process.

The FDA states “Each manufacturer shall establish and maintain a DHF for each type of device. The DHF shall contain or reference the records necessary to demonstrate that the design was developed in accordance with the approved design plans and the requirements of this part.”

When you are creating a DHF you are required to record:

When you are putting together a DHF there are several key factors that you should consider such as:

Giving yourself an appropriate amount of time to create a detailed document. This document is a key source that medical device regulators monitor and therefore it may receive scrutiny from the FDA, make sure you give yourself time to keep this file updated and organized with all necessary information.

Each organization is responsible to prove traceability and linkages between the DHF elements. When you create this document consider making a robust matrix in order to create an easy to follow chart for the FDA.

The DHF needs to be well organized and available to all project team members.

DHFs are large documents. Recording information manually can be time consuming and can cause issues with organization. We recommend that you consider having an electronic version, it will both keep the DHF better organized and also safe if it is uploaded to a cloud-based system.

Keep the DHF separate from your project file and other documents. You want to stay well organized.

DEVICE MASTER RECORD (DMR)

A Device Master Record (DMR) is a document that contains the details necessary in order to build and test a device.  A DMR contains all of the specifications necessary to build the device from start to finish. The DMR does not contain the design history (that is addressed in the DHF), it will only contain the current information and specifications.

According to the FDA your DMR must include the following information:

  • Specifications on the device including: drawings, composition, forumation, component specifications and software specifications,
  • Production process specifications including the appropriate equipment, production methods and production procedures and production environment specifications
  • Quality assurance procedures-acceptance criteria and quality assurance equipment used
  • Packaging and labeling specifications- this must include the methods and processes
  • Installation, maintenance, and servicing procedures and methods.

DEVICE HISTORY RECORD (DHR)

When you are working on the compliance process, the device history record (DHR) would be the next step after the DHF and DMR. The DHR contains all documentation related to manufacturing and tracking a device. This document shows that your organization manufactured the device according to the information in the DMR. Record keeping is again addressed in the 21 CFR Part 820:184. According to the FDA the DHR must include the following information:

  • Dates of manufacture;
  • Quantity manufactured;
  • Quantity released for distribution;
  • Acceptance records which demonstrate the device is manufactured in accordance with the DMR;
  • Primary identification label and labeling used for each production unit
  • Any unique device identifier, or universal product code, and/or any other device identification and control number(s) used.

The DHR must be applied to each batch of devices, meaning that each new batch produced must be tested to ensure that the product meets the specifications defined in the DMR. The DHR is your overall history of the device, much like the DHF is the overall history of design.

ISO 13485 All in One Package

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