The FDA's Medical Device Development Tools (MDDT) program is intended to facilitate device development and timely evaluation of medical devices, and promote innovation, by providing a more efficient and predictable means for collecting the necessary information to support regulatory submissions and associated decision-making.
The MDDT program is a way for the FDA to qualify tools that medical device sponsors can choose to use in the development and evaluation of medical devices. Tools such as biomarker tests, clinician-reported outcome measures, patient-reported outcome measures, or non-clinical assessment models such as animal or computational models, and digital health technologies like sensors or wearables, play an important role in helping the FDA understand how medical devices work, in terms of safety, effectiveness, and other aspects of performance.
The voluntary MDDT program helps to improve predictability and efficiency in device development and regulatory review. When deciding whether to qualify a tool, the FDA evaluates the tool and available supporting evidence to determine whether it can be used as intended to produce scientifically plausible measurements within a specified context of use. Medical device sponsors can use qualified tools and be sure they will be accepted by the FDA without the need to reconfirm the suitability and utility of the tool within the same context of use.
On this page:
- Why the FDA Developed the MDDT Qualification Process
- Qualified Medical Device Development Tools (MDDTs)
- MDDT Qualification and the Qualification Process
- How to Participate in the MDDT Program
- CDRH Funding Opportunities: Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) Grant Program
Prior to the development of the MDDT Qualification process, the FDA evaluated tools on a case-by-case basis for each medical device submission.
The FDA created the voluntary MDDT program to:
- Advance innovation, by focusing on the science needed to evaluate novel technologies.
- Increase predictability for medical device sponsors, by making it clear FDA accepts assessments from an MDDT in support of demonstrating safety, effectiveness, or performance of a medical device, when used within the qualified context of use.
- Improve efficiency and transparency, by facilitating use of validated and qualified tools across multiple medical device submissions and manufacturers.
- Encourage collaboration in developing tools and supporting evidence, to pool resources and drive increased use and acceptance of qualified tools.
The FDA has qualified MDDTs for cardiovascular, neurology, ophthalmology, plastic surgery, automated insulin dosing, and imaging devices, as well as crosscutting tools for implanted medical devices and cybersecurity.
The following table lists MDDTs qualified by the FDA, along with a Summary of Evidence and Basis of Qualification (SEBQ) for the tool. This summary includes:
- A brief description of the tool
- The qualified context of use
- A general summary of evidence to support qualification
- A brief assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of using the tool
- Information on how to contact the tool developer about accessing the tool
Medical device sponsors submitting a marketing application that relies on a qualified MDDT may include the MDDT submission number in the cover letter or the FDA CDRH Premarket Review Submission Cover Sheet form 3514 (Section F or J). The MDDT submission number for each qualified tool can be found in the SEBQ.
|Tool (Link to SEBQ)||Product Area(s)||MDDT Category||Date Qualified|
|CHemical RISk Calculator (CHRIS) - Color Additives||Toxicology, Biocompatibility||Non-clinical Assessment Model||11/28/2022|
|FACE-Q | Aesthetics||Plastic Surgery, Dermatology||Clinical Outcome Assessment||04/26/2022|
|Virtual MRI Safety Evaluations of Medical Devices||Imaging||Non-clinical Assessment Model||11/16/2021|
|Patient-Reported Outcomes with LASIK Symptoms and Satisfaction (PROWL-SS)||Ophthalmology||Clinical Outcome Assessment||06/17/2021|
|IMAnalytics with MRIxViP1.5T/3.0T And BCLib||Active implanted medical devices (AIMDs)||Nonclinical Assessment Model||05/20/2021|
|Rubric for Applying CVSS to Medical Devices||Cybersecurity||Nonclinical Assessment Model||10/20/2020|
|BREAST-Q Reconstruction Module||Plastic Surgery||Clinical Outcome Assessment||08/20/2020|
|Insulin Dosing Systems: Perceptions, Ideas, Reflections, and Expectations (INSPIRE) Questionnaires||Automated Insulin Dosing (AID)||Clinical Outcome Assessment||06/24/2020|
|Tissue Mimicking Material (TMM) for Preclinical Acoustic Performance Characterization of High Intensity Therapeutic Ultrasound (HITU) Devices||Imaging||Nonclinical Assessment Model||07/10/2019|
|OSIRIX CDE Software Module||Neurology||Biomarker Test||03/12/2019|
|Minnesota Living with Heart Failure Questionnaire (MLHFQ)||Cardiology||Clinical Outcome Assessment||03/19/2018|
|Kansas City Cardiomyopathy Questionnaire (KCCQ)||Cardiology||Clinical Outcome Assessment||10/19/2017|
The FDA recognizes three categories of MDDTs, which can be distinguished primarily by how the tool measures the relevant parameters:
- Clinical Outcome Assessment (COA) can be made through report by a clinician, a patient, a non-clinician observer or through a performance-based assessment. It can be used to inform patient eligibility or clinical study endpoints. For details on COAs, see Clinical Outcome Assessments (COAs) in Medical Device Decision Making.
- Biomarker Test (BT) is a test or instrument used to detect or measure a biomarker. A biomarker test can be used to assess risk, or identify safety concerns, or predict treatment outcomes in patients.
- Non-clinical Assessment Model (NAM) is a non-clinical test model or method that measures or predicts device function or in vivo device performance. It can be a computational or animal model used to:
- Measure or predict a parameter of interest
- Reduce or replace animal testing
- Reduce test duration or sample size.
More information about the categories of MDDT is in the final guidance, Qualification of Medical Device Development Tools.
MDDT qualification is a regulatory conclusion that within the stated context of use, the MDDT methodology is a well-defined and reliable measure of a specific concept and has a specific interpretation and application in device development and regulatory decision-making.
The qualification process consists of two phases: The Proposal Phase and the Qualification Phase.
The goal of the proposal phase is to determine if the MDDT is suitable for qualification through the MDDT program and to identify the performance criteria that will be used to assess qualification. In this phase, the FDA asks submitters to provide information about the tool and the data collection plan, including the context of use. The FDA developed an optional Qualification Plan template to help the submitter provide the key elements they need to include in the qualification process.
Those interested in seeking acceptance into the MDDT program should submit a complete proposal package.
To submit a proposal, download and follow the instructions to format the cover sheet and qualification plan contents. If you have any questions, send email to MDDT@fda.hhs.gov.
During this phase, the FDA can provide feedback to submitters on their plan to collect evidence to support qualification of the tool.
The goal of this phase is to determine whether, for a specific context of use, the tool is qualified based on evidence and justifications provided. In this phase, the FDA asks submitters to provide the data collected according to the qualification plan developed in the proposal phase as a full qualification package to qualify the MDDT. A submitter enters this phase after receiving notification from the FDA that the MDDT is accepted into the Qualification Program.
The FDA developed a Summary of Evidence and Basis of Qualification (SEBQ) template that is intended to present an objective and balanced summary of the scientific evidence that served as the basis of the decision to qualify an MDDT. The FDA intends to publicly disclose the SEBQ on the MDDT website if the FDA qualifies the tool.
|Proposal Phase||Determine if the MDDT is suitable for qualification through the MDDT program.||Submit a complete Qualification Plan for collecting and gathering evidence for qualification of the tool, a description of the MDDT, and context of use.|
|Qualification Phase||Determine whether, for a specific context of use, the tool is qualified based on the evidence and justifications provided.||Submit the data collected according to the Qualification Plan as part of the Full Qualification Package, which the FDA reviews for the qualification decision.|
For more information about the process for qualifying MDDTs, see the final guidance, Qualification of Medical Device Development Tools.
Any tool developer, medical device sponsor, or others such as research organizations and academia can voluntarily submit a proposal. The program aims to provide MDDT developers and medical device sponsors with a mechanism for discussing early concepts about a tool, fostering collaboration on tool development, and facilitating increased adoption and use of qualified tools.
Fees: There are no fees associated with submitting a tool for qualification.
Submitting a Proposal as an eCopy: Proposals should be submitted as an eCopy in the form of a CD, DVD, or flash drive and should be sent to the CDRH Document Control Center at this address:
U.S. Food and Drug Administration
Center for Devices and Radiological Health
Document Control Center – WO66-G609
10903 New Hampshire Avenue
Silver Spring, MD 20993-0002
The eCopy should meet the technical standards outlined in eCopy Program for Medical Device Submissions.
Questions: If you have any questions, contact us at MDDT@fda.hhs.gov. You may also want to refer to this webinar about the qualification of MDDT tools:
- Webinar - CDRH Final Guidance: Qualification of Medical Device Development Tools - August 24, 2017 [Archived]
CDRH Funding Opportunities to Support Small Businesses in Regulatory Science and Evidence Generation
CDRH has its own Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) grant program. The SBIR programs encourage domestic small businesses to engage in research and development with the potential for product commercialization. These grants may be applicable to a broad variety of efforts such as development of Voluntary Consensus Standards, research methods, and Medical Device Development Tools. To determine applicability of these funding opportunities for your product, please see SBIR Omnibus/Parent Grant Solicitation Program Description and Research Topics Document in the SBIR/STTR Omnibus section.
Previous Funding Opportunities for Small Businesses Developing Medical Device Development Tools
In 2022, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA’s) Center for Devices and Radiological Health (CDRH) and the National Institutes of Health collaborated to support the small business community in developing innovative medical device development tools (MDDTs). Below are the funding announcements from the collaboration.
The FDA defines small business as a business, including its affiliates, whose gross receipts and sales are less than $100 million for the most recent tax year.
NIH/National Cancer Institute
Topic 454 – Software to Evaluate Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning Medical Devices in Oncology Settings
NIH/National Institute of Dental Craniofacial Research
Data-Driven Tools to Accelerate the Clinical Translation of Novel Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Biomaterials
- RFA-DE-23-006: Data-Driven Tools to Accelerate the Clinical Translation of Novel Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Biomaterials (R61/R33 - Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (nih.gov)
- RFA-DE-23-007: Data-Driven Tools to Accelerate the Clinical Translation of Novel Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Biomaterials (R42 Fast-Track - Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (nih.gov)
- RFA-DE-23-008: Data-Driven Tools to Accelerate the Clinical Translation of Novel Dental, Oral, and Craniofacial Biomaterials (Fast-Track - R44 - Clinical Trial Not Allowed) (nih.gov)
NIH/National Institute of Drug Abuse
Novel Drug (DDT) and Medical Device Development Tools (MDDT) for New Therapies for Substance Use Disorders (SUD)
- RFA-DA-23-019: Novel Drug (DDT) and Medical Device Development Tools (MDDT) to Help Expediate Creation and Regulatory Approvals of New Therapies for Substance Use Disorders (SUD) (R41/R42 Clinical Trial Optional) (nih.gov)
- RFA-DA-23-020: Novel Drug (DDT) and Medical Device Development Tools (MDDT) to Help Expedite Creation and Regulatory Approvals of New Therapies for Substance Use Disorders (SUD) (R43/R44 Clinical Trial Optional) (nih.gov)
If you have questions about the MDDT Program, email MDDT@fda.hhs.gov.