How Your Notified Body Is Grading Your EU MDR CER

By Published On: January 8th, 2020Categories: Clinical Evaluation Reports - CER, Latest PublicationsTags: ,

MDCG’s Guidance document, released in July 2020, introduces and details the essential requirements and format of a Clinical Evaluation Assessment Report (CEAR) to be documented by Notified Bodies (NBs) as a part of its conformity assessment procedures. Through the CEAR, the first MDCG guidance aims to standardize the documentation of the NBs’ assessment of manufacturers’ clinical evaluation and related documents.

Post-assessment conclusions of the clinical evidence presented by the manufacturer in the clinical evaluation report (CER) and the related clinical evaluation conducted must be clearly articulated by Notified Bodies (NBs) through this document.

What Do the CEAR Guidelines Mean for Your Clinical Evaluation Report?

The clinical evidence presented by the manufacturer should address the following objectives:

Evaluate whether the data from claimed equivalent devices are suitable while considering factors such as new indications and innovations.

Functions of the Notified Body: Conclusions on the claimed Equivalence and the relevance and adequacy of clinical investigations of the data to demonstrate the NB must clearly document conformity. In addition, through pre-clinical and clinical data and risk analysis, the NBs must assess the extent of specific claims for medical devices, if any feature has been claimed as innovative, or if the device has new indications.

Verify the adequacy of the clinical evidence, clinical evaluation, and conclusions drawn by the manufacturer in conformity with the relevant general safety and performance requirements.

Functions of the Notified Body: The NB should evaluate if the benefit-risk determination, benefit-risk assessment and management, instructions for the use of medical devices, user training, and the manufacturer’s post-market surveillance plan are sufficient. The NBs must also review the need for and adequacy of the PMCF plan proposed, wherever applicable.

Last but not least, the clinical evaluation and the benefit-risk determination should be considered, with a recommendation on the possible definitions of specific milestones to enable the NBs to review updates to the clinical evidence from PMS and PMCF data.


Key Points of The CER Guidance Document

  • CEARs will make a recommendation to support a final review and a final decision to be taken by the NB.
  • CEARs in this format will also support specific additional requirements, such as the clinical evaluation consultation procedure and reviews by designating authorities.
  • While the completed CEAR itself may not necessarily be a completely comprehensive record of the non-compliance/deficiencies, NBs may use this document to record the non-compliance/deficiencies and queries raised during the assessment and the assessment of responses received. In addition, CEARs will document the outcomes and conclusions of the assessment.
  • NBs, too, are made accountable for their assessment, as designating authorities will have access to the complete “audit trail” of the NB. Designating authorities will, in turn, assess if the NB conducted the clinical evaluation assessment properly after consideration of the procedures, assessment, and associated documentation and conclusions.
  • While expert panels conducting a clinical evaluation consultation procedure will assess the CEAR, they may not have access to the complete conformity assessment, related procedures, and documentation for the device. Hence, the CEAR is designed to provide adequate information concerning the clinical evidence provided by the manufacturer. In addition, the CEAR shall contain essential information such as benefit-risk determinations and the consistency of that evidence with the intended purpose, including the indications for use and the PMCF.
  • All pertinent sections should be completed, with corresponding boxes ticked, arriving at relevant conclusions for the report to be complete. All tick-boxes should be completed only after all the non-compliances have been closed to indicate a positive assessment. However, suppose one or more open, minor non-compliances remain at the end of the assessment. In that case, they should be clearly detailed in the template, with suitable suggestions on follow-up actions to close them out adequately. The expected corresponding completion timelines to be followed by the manufacturer under the supervision of the notified body should also be specified in the CEAR.
  • The data sources assessed would include the clinical evaluation report, clinical investigation plan, clinical investigation report, ethics committee approval, Competent Authority approval, post-market surveillance data, and relevant publications.


Key Aspects That May Affect Your EU MDR Submissions

Based on the results of the manufacturers’ risk management and consideration of the specifics of the interaction between the device and the human body, the clinical performance intended, and the claims of the manufacturer, an assessment of clinical performance are conducted. Here a summary of the clinical data, which demonstrates the ability of the device to achieve its intended purpose as claimed by the manufacturer, is presented, and a description of the clinical benefits is provided.

A vital component of the CEAR is the assessment of the qualitative and quantitative aspects of clinical safety. By determining residual risks and undesirable side effects and confirming continuing compliance with relevant safety and performance requirements, an adequate assessment is performed.

The source and rationale for Equivalence must be established. For instance, if Equivalence has been shown based upon clinical investigation(s) or other studies reported in scientific literature, the assessment must indicate which devices are/are not equivalent and confirm that data relating to devices that are not equivalent have been excluded from the analysis of clinical data for the purposes for demonstrating safety and performance.

Also Read: How to Find The Best CER Medical Writers

Our Thoughts: Writing Excellent CERs that your Notified Body Will Accept

Implementing the EU MDR will bring in stricter post-market surveillance requirements, emphasizing risk management, post-market clinical evaluation, and ensuring conformity to new specifications through the device lifecycle.

Thus, a clear, comprehensive template for the documentation of the Clinical evaluation assessment will not only help ease the ever-increasing burden for NBs with audits, timelines, and assessment guidelines but will also help manufacturers identify and focus on the crucial elements that critically impact the Clinical Evaluation Assessment.

Therefore, Clinical evaluation should be treated as a critical component of the manufacturer’s process. The PMS, PMCF, and Instructions for use should align with the clinical evaluation to determine whether the risks are acceptable when weighed against the expected benefits, thereby eliciting any corrective and preventive actions involving the device.

The critical takeaway concerning clinical evaluation for manufacturers and NBs is a demonstration and validation, respectively, of intended clinical benefits to patients, with relevant and specified clinical outcome parameters, while adhering to general performance and safety requirements with minimal residual risks.


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