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Public Workshop - Reprocessing of Reusable Medical Devices, June 8-9, 2011

Posted Apr 29 2011 12:00am

The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is announcing a public workshop to discuss factors affecting the quality of reprocessing of reusable medical devices, and FDA’s plans to address the identified issues. This workshop is part of an ongoing FDA effort to address patient exposure to inadequately reprocessed reusable medical devices with the overall goal to reduce the risk of infection. Additional background about the Reprocessing of Reusable Medical Devices effort can be found at .

The purpose of the workshop is to discuss factors affecting reprocessing quality, device design as it relates to reprocessing reusable medical devices, reprocessing methodologies, validation methodologies, healthcare facility best practices, and FDA’s plans to address the identified issues. Discussion topics include:

  1. What are the nature, scope, and impact of reusable medical device reprocessing problems that have been observed? What are the causes of these problems?
  2. What factors or criteria to facilitate reprocessing should be considered when designing reusable medical devices? How can the design process be improved to better incorporate cleanability as a design endpoint?
  3. What factors or criteria should be considered when developing reprocessing instructions and validation protocols for devices to be used in various healthcare environments (e.g., hospital, ambulatory surgical center, physician’s office), based on the draft guidance document, Processing / Reprocessing Medical Devices in Health Care Settings: Validation Methods and Labeling?
  4. What factors or criteria should be considered by a healthcare facility when developing reusable device reprocessing procedures and quality assurance processes?
  5. How should problems with reusable medical device reprocessing be identified, reported, and acted upon by industry and users?

Date, Time and Location

This workshop will be held June 8, 2011 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. EDT and June 9, 2011 from 8:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. EDT at the following location:

FDA White Oak Campus
The Great Room (Room 1503), White Oak Conference Center, Bldg 31
10903 New Hampshire Ave
Silver Spring, MD, 20903

Federal Register Notice

The Federal Register Notice for this workshop is also available at .


Various types of medical devices used in healthcare settings, from surgical suction tips to complex endoscopes, are designed and labeled for use on multiple patients. This effort focuses on medical devices that are intended for reuse after reprocessing. It does not include third-party reprocessing of single-use-only medical devices.

Thousands of reusable medical devices requiring reprocessing are used every day in diagnosing and treating patients. FDA has received a number of reports of patient exposure to inadequately reprocessed medical devices and subsequent healthcare-associated infections (HAIs). Several reports contained evidence suggesting that inadequate reprocessing may have been a contributing factor in microbial transmission and subsequent infection. A definitive causal relationship between reusable device reprocessing and any patient infection is difficult to establish, because inadequate reprocessing is not often investigated as a cause when an HAI is diagnosed. Ensuring adequate reprocessing of reusable medical devices could reduce the incidence of HAIs associated with the use of a reprocessed medical device. This will decrease the public health burden of HAIs in terms of morbidity, mortality and cost. 

The adequate reprocessing of reusable medical devices is a critically important factor in protecting patient safety. Inadequate reprocessing between patients can result in the retention of blood, tissue and other biological debris (soil) in reusable medical devices. This soil can allow microbes to survive the high level disinfection or sterilization process, potentially resulting in Healthcare-Associated Infections (HAIs) or other adverse patient outcomes. The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) receives reports of problems in all steps of medical device reprocessing*, including cleaning, disinfecting and sterilizing. Manufacturers, healthcare facilities, healthcare professionals, and the FDA all have a role in reducing the risk of inadequately reprocessed medical devices.

Considering the problems associated with reprocessing medical devices, the FDA has launched a coordinated effort which focuses on improvements in device design, reprocessing procedures and validation methodologies, and healthcare facility quality assurance practices. To help address these issues, the FDA has engaged partners at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), the Veterans Health Administration (VHA), and The Joint Commission (JC), who bring valuable expertise in disease control and healthcare practices to this effort.

* A more comprehensive description of reprocessing steps is available in FDA’s draft guidance Processing/Reprocessing Medical Devices in Health Care Settings: Validation Methods and Labeling at

Workshop Details

Directions and Parking

This workshop will also be webcast. Early registration is recommended, as webcast connections are limited. Organizations are requested to register all participants, and view using one connection per location. Requests to participate by webcast must be submitted by June 1, 2011 using the . Webcast participants will be sent connection requirements.

Requests for oral presentations

If you wish to make an oral presentation during the open comment session at the workshop, you must indicate this at the time of registration. You should also identify which discussion topic you wish to address in your presentation and you must submit a brief statement that describes your experience and/or expertise relevant to your proposed presentation. FDA will do its best to accommodate requests to speak. Requests to make an oral presentation must be submitted by June 1, 2011 using the online registration form. Any presentation materials must be sent to the contact person by June 1, 2011.

Written or electronic comments

Submit written or electronic comments by June 29, 2011. Submit electronic comments to . Submit written comments to the Division of Dockets Management (HFA-305), Food and Drug Administration 5630 Fishers Lane, Rm. 1061, Rockville, MD 20852.

Food and beverages

Food and beverages will be available for purchase during the workshop breaks.


The deadline for online registration will be Wednesday, June 1, 2011.

Registration is free and registration will be on a first-come, first-served basis for this Workshop. Early registration is recommended because seating is limited.

Please use either the In-Person Workshop Attendance registration form, or the Online Webcast Viewing registration form.

Contact Us

For information regarding registration and special accommodations, contact:

  • Susan Monahan
    Office of Communication, Education, and Radiation Programs
    Center for Devices and Radiological Health
    Food and Drug Administration
    10903 New Hampshire Avenue, Bldg. 66
    Silver Spring, MD 20993
    Phone: 301-796-5661

For information regarding the program, contact:

  • Carol Krueger
    Office of the Center Director
    Center for Devices and Radiological Health
    Food and Drug Administration
    10903 New Hampshire Avenue,
    Bldg. 66, Room 5437
    Silver Spring, MD 20993
    Phone: 301-796-3241
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