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WHO Launches MeDevIS: A Global Platform for Medical Device Information

The World Health Organization (WHO) has unveiled MeDevIS (Medical Devices Information System), the first global open-access platform designed to streamline information on medical devices. This platform aims to aid governments, regulators, and users in making informed decisions regarding the selection, procurement, and use of medical devices for diagnostics, testing, and treatment.

MeDevIS encompasses information on 2,301 types of medical devices, addressing a wide range of health issues, including reproductive, maternal, newborn, and child health, noncommunicable diseases like cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

“The number of medical technologies used in healthcare is growing, as is their complexity, which can make it challenging for healthcare practitioners and patients to navigate,” said Dr. Yukiko Nakatani, WHO Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines and Health Products. “We aim to provide a one-stop shop of international information, which can be invaluable for those making decisions on life-saving medical technologies, especially in resource-limited settings, and to improve access.”

Globally, over 10,000 different medical devices are utilized for protection, prevention, diagnostics, treatment, or rehabilitation of health issues. These devices range from simple tools like pulse oximeters and digital thermometers to complex equipment such as hemodialysis units and defibrillators.

Previously, users had to rely on multiple sources of information from international organizations, regulatory bodies, and donor agencies, often resulting in confusion and difficulty in identifying the most reliable data. MeDevIS addresses this by offering a unified platform where users can search for specific devices based on type, healthcare system level, scope, and required infrastructure.

MeDevIS aims to simplify the naming of medical devices and replaces the cumbersome process of paper-based literature searches across multiple publications with non-standard device names. It references two international naming systems for medical devices: the European Medical Device Nomenclature (EMDN) and the Global Medical Device Nomenclature (GMDN). These systems, used in various countries for regulatory approval, procurement, supply inventories, tracking, and pricing, include coding and definitions to facilitate global use.

“The MeDevIS platform can be useful for national policymakers to develop or update their own national lists for procurement of health technologies and devices and can contribute to the progress towards universal health coverage,” stated Dr. Deus Mubangizi, WHO Director for Health Products Policy and Standards in the Access to Medicines and Health Products Division. “It can also help agencies in health insurance and reimbursement policies for patients.”

This initiative marks WHO’s first global repository for medical devices, building on its experience with the WHO Priority Medical Devices List (MDL) and the WHO Essential Medicines List (EML). The EML, approaching its 50th anniversary in 2025, is a cornerstone of public health, supporting health progress and impacting billions of lives worldwide.

WHO plans to continually enhance the MeDevIS platform, engaging multiple stakeholders and partners, and expanding its offerings with additional technologies and devices used in various health areas, including pandemic and emergency settings. 

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