Stage-gate process for the development of medical devices

Jan B. Pietzsch, Lauren A. Shluzas, M. Elisabeth Paté-Cornell, Paul G. Yock, John H. Linehan

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


The medical device development process has become increasingly complex in recent years. The advent of new technology concepts, stricter regulatory requirements, and the ever increasing importance of reimbursement decisions for successful device commercialization require careful planning and strategy-setting, coordinated decisions, and consistent, rigorous business processes. The design and implementation of such processes, often captured in development models and accompanying standard operating procedures, have become a key determinant of the success of device commercialization. While various models may exist in the device industry, no comprehensive development model has been published. This paper reviews existing model representations and presents a new comprehensive development model that captures all aspects of device development and commercialization from early-concept selection to postmarket surveillance. This model was constructed based on best-practice analysis and in-depth interviews with more than 80 seasoned experts actively involved in the development, commercialization, and regulation of medical devices. The stage-gate process includes the following five phases: (1) initiation - opportunity and risk analysis, (2) formulation - concept and feasibility, (3) design and development - verification and validation, (4) final validation - product launch preparation, and (5) product launch and postlaunch assessment. The study results suggest that stage-gate processes are the predominant development model used in the medical device industry and that regulatory requirements such as the food and drug adminstration (FDA's) Quality Systems Regulation play a substantive role in shaping activities and decisions in the process. The results also underline the significant differences between medical device innovation and drug discovery and development, and underscore current challenges associated with the successful development of the increasing number of combination products.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number021004
JournalJournal of Medical Devices, Transactions of the ASME
Issue number2
StatePublished - Jun 2009

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine (miscellaneous)
  • Biomedical Engineering


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