Medical Devices

Questions and Answers on the Medical Device Reporting (MDR) Regulation

October 26, 2009

Question 1. Who is required to file mandatory reports of device-related adverse events?

A. The Medical Device Reporting (MDR) regulation is found in Title 21 of the Code of Federal Regulations, Part 803. This regulation specifies the reporting obligations of medical device manufacturers, importers, distributors, and user facilities. FDA has defined a device user facility as a hospital, ambulatory surgical facility, nursing home, outpatient diagnostic facility, or outpatient treatment facility. A user facility subject to MDR may be either an independent entity or operated by another medical entity.

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Question 2. What is an ambulatory surgical facility (ASF)?

A. An ambulatory surgical facility is a distinct entity whose primary purpose is to furnish same day outpatient surgical services to patients. A facility that offers LASIK as one of its ophthalmic surgical procedures may also provide non-ophthalmic surgical services. Consider all surgical services provided by a facility when determining whether a facility meets the MDR definition of an ambulatory surgical facility and is therefore subject to the user facility obligations under MDR. More information about mandatory reporting can be found at Safety/ReportaProblem/default.htm

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Question 3. How is a physician's office affected by MDR?

A. A facility that operates as the office of a physician or other health care professional for the primary purpose of examination, evaluation, and treatment or referral of patients is not required to file mandatory MDR reports. However, we encourage the use of the MedWatch program to voluntarily report device-related adverse events to the manufacturer and FDA. More information about MedWatch and instructions for filing a voluntary report can be found at

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Question 4. How do I know if I am an ambulatory surgical facility (ASF) or a physician's office?

A. The activities of some facilities meet both the definition of an ASF and physician's office. If you are not sure whether you meet the definition of an ASF, or if you have other questions about MDR requirements, you may contact the MDR Policy Branch at 301-796-6670.

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Question 5. When does a user facility report information about adverse events?

A. A user facility (UF) is required to report when it receives information that reasonably suggests that a medical device has (or may have) caused or contributed to a serious injury or death of a patient of the facility:

  • the report must be submitted within 10 work days
  • a serious injury must be reported to the manufacturer. (If the manufacturer is unknown, a serious injury must be reported to FDA.)
  • a death must be reported to the manufacturer and FDA.
  • the term “patient” is interpreted to include device users such as UF employees

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Question 6. What other MDR obligations apply to a user facility?

A. A user facility is required to have written procedures that cover the handling of device-related adverse events and to maintain MDR files or records.

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Question 7. What is considered a serious injury under the MDR regulation?

A. Serious injury means an injury or illness that:

  • is life-threatening; or
  • results in permanent impairment of a body function or permanent damage to a body structure; or
  • requires medical or surgical intervention to prevent permanent impairment of a body function or permanent damage to a body structure.

An example of a serious injury is a patient who experiences persistent visual symptoms after a LASIK procedure such that the eye care provider reasonably concludes that the patient has suffered permanent visual impairment or permanent eye damage attributed to use of the laser during the LASIK procedure. FDA expects that user facilities will exercise due diligence and professional judgment in determining whether a serious injury has occurred. Further, FDA expects that a user facility will have written procedures for making this determination and for documenting such determinations.

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Question 8. Why has FDA inspected facilities that perform LASIK procedures?

A. Inspection of ambulatory surgical facilities that perform LASIK procedures is one of the options available to FDA to ensure that physicians and patients have current and accurate information to help them with their decisions about LASIK. These inspections allow FDA to identify reporting problems and provide opportunities to further educate user facilities about MDR reporting obligations. This should improve the quality of information reported to FDA and manufacturers about LASIK problems, and further enhance the quality of information made available to the public.

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Question 9. Why does FDA want user facilities to report adverse events?

A. A user facility is knowledgeable about the adverse events that occur there. An MDR report that contains specific details about what happened during an adverse event and what device(s) were involved will help FDA to assess the event and make a determination about the need for action to correct a problem.

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Question 10. What does FDA do with the information from user facilities?

A. A user facility's reports to FDA of device-related deaths are entered in a database along with the MDR reportable death, serious injury and malfunction reports filed by manufacturers and importers, and the voluntary reports received from other sources. The information in the database is reviewed and analyzed by FDA staff to identify device problems such as manufacturing defects, design problems, or human engineering problems. In some cases, FDA will contact the user facility or manufacturer for more information about the adverse event. At other times, FDA will initiate an inspection of the manufacturer to assess the firm's adherence to the Quality System (QS) regulation, 21 CFR 820, as well as the requirements of the Medical Device Reporting (MDR) regulation, 21 CFR 803, Subpart E. The information provided by user facilities helps FDA to fulfill its mission to conduct ongoing surveillance of medical devices and thereby protect the public from hazardous devices.

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Page Last Updated: 06/17/2014
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