Medical Devices

Home Use Devices

What is a Home Use Device?

A home use medical device is a medical device intended for users in any environment outside of a professional healthcare facility. This includes devices intended for use in both professional healthcare facilities and homes.

  • A user is a patient (care recipient), caregiver, or family member that directly uses the device or provides assistance in using the device.
  • A qualified healthcare professional is a licensed or non-licensed healthcare professional with proficient skill and experience with the use of the device so that they can aid or train care recipients and caregivers to use and maintain the device.

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Why is FDA's Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) interested?

Changes in health care have moved care from the hospital environment to the home environment.  In fact, according to results of the 2000 National Home and Hospice Care Survey “approximately 1,355,300 patients were receiving home health care services from 7,200 agencies.” In 2004, the National Association for Home Care & Hospice reported that more than 7 million people in the United States receive home health care annually.

As patients move to the use of home health care services for recuperation or long-term care, the medical devices necessary for their care have followed them. As a result, complex medical devices are used more frequently in the home, many times under unsuitable conditions. This in turn has implications for the safe and effective operation of these devices, especially those with sophisticated requirements for proper operation or maintenance.

CDRH regulates medical devices; however, the regulatory authority alone is not enough to ensure that devices are safe and effective when used in the home. CDRH has been receiving an increasing number of adverse event reports about medical devices that are used in the home.

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What can CDRH do?

CDRH wants to decrease the number of problems that occur in the home environment; but the issues are  complex. To be successful, the government agencies involved in home care need to collaborate with relevant stakeholders:

  • Manufacturers and Distributors
  • Health care professionals
  • Health care organizations
  • Accrediting bodies (Private or governmental bodies that grant recognition that an institution has met certain standards or requirements)
  • Human factors experts

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What information does this website provide?

This website will provide safety information and resources about medical products used in the home environment geared for a variety of audiences – consumers, patients, healthcare providers and manufacturers.

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Links to Informational Videos

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Case Study of the Month

The FDA encourages consumers and health care professionals to report problems they have with their devices while they are using them. This could be anything from an injury or death to a malfunction or near miss with a device while it is being used. Users should report these problems to the FDA so that we can accumulate information on products in our national database and take any action if needed. The reporting number you should use is 1-800-FDA-1088.

Case Study for August 2014

Tanning Bed Burn
A tanning bed consumer reported he sustained a severe burn from a brand new home tanning bed which he directly purchased from the manufacturer’s website. He assembled the device without any difficulty. The tanning bed manual consisted of only four simple steps that guided the user through the assembly of the device. To guide the user through the operation of the device, a summary of the instructions was as followed: lift the canopy; lie down on the bench, face up, lower the canopy as close to the body as possible; turn the timer knob clockwise to the desired tanning session time to begin the session; the lamp will turn on immediately; when the timer reaches “0” the lamp will turn off; if you want to stop the session before the time expires, turn the timer back to “0;” raise the canopy by pushing the outer edge. Following these instructions, he set the device’s timer for nine minutes and lowered the device’s canopy to start his first tanning session. During that session, he fell asleep and woke up approximately an hour later to find the tanning lamps still on. The timer failed to turn the lamps off when the allotted time had passed. He described the burn as very deep. He felt some discomfort and pain in his nerves and muscles. After the incident, he contacted the device’s manufacturer but he could not get in touch with any associate at the firm. The president of the company stated that his staff attempted to contact the individual back but they were unable to reach him. The president assured that each device went through quality assurance checks before being shipped. One of those assurance checks included a test on the tanning bed timer. He also promised to further investigate the complaint then provide a cause for the device failure after this investigation would be complete.

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Page Last Updated: 08/01/2014
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