The article does not include a DHF template, but recommendations for format and content of a design history file are provided.
A couple of weeks ago I announced that I will be conducting a webinar today (i.e., 10:00am EDT on April 14, 2016) on the topic of the design history file (DHF). One of my blog readers sent me an email in response to this announcement requesting a DHF template.
Regulatory Requirements for a Design History File (DHF)
The requirements for a design history file (DHF) are found in 21 CFR 820.30j: “Each manufacturer shall establish and maintain a DHF for each type of device. The DHF shall contain or reference the records necessary to demonstrate that the design was developed in accordance with the approved design plan and the requirements of this part.“ There is also a definition for a DHF found in 21 CFR 820.3(e), “Design history file (DHF ) means a compilation of records which describes the design history of a finished device.” The FDA provided an official interpretation of this requirement in the preamble when the QSR was published in 1996. That discussion of the requirement indicated that the DHF is intended to be a repository of the records required to demonstrate compliance with your design plan and your design control procedures. The discussion also indicates that the same DHF may be used for minor variations of a device such as size differences. Most manufacturers will organize the DHF in a binder and organize the binder chronologically to match a design project plan, however, most do not create a DHF template. Meeting minutes from each design meeting are typically included as an appendix to the DHF, while reviewed and approved documents such as the design plan, design inputs, design outputs and records of design reviews typically comprise the bulk of the DHF. Manufacturers also typically will conduct an internal auditor of active DHF binders in order to ensure that design projects are following the approved design plans.
Why a DHF Template Doesn’t Make Sense
The DHF is is intended to provide evidence of following an approved design plan, but the DHF consists of many records–not just one record. A DHF template could be created to follow a standardized design control process, but most manufacturers write a generic design procedure that allows and encourages the design team to customize the design plan to match the needs of each development project. Therefore, design plans may have different numbers of design reviews and very different testing activities prior to the start of the design transfer process and during design verification and validation.
For a device master record (DMR), I recommend creating a DMR Index using a template that is organized in accordance with an international standard to meet the needs of a DMR and a Technical File. However, the DMR is a living document that only shows the most current design outputs for a device while a DHF may require repeating various verification and validation testing if the initial design fails to meet acceptance criteria and a design change is required prior to the final design review and approval of commercial release. The need for including this variability eliminates the advantages of a template.
Documenting Design Changes in your DHF vs. a DMR Index
Product design changes that occur prior to the final design review and approval of commercial release are required for inclusion in the DHF. However, once a product is released the control over design changes should be tighter and regulatory submission of changes may be required. Therefore, I recommend documenting post-market design changes in the DMR Index for a device as part of the revision history. I treat the DMR Index as a controlled document and any post-market design changes are reflected in the revision history with a reference to the design change approval (e.g., ECN 123 – addition of UDI label to product labeling). The other advantage of this approach is that all post-market design changes that must be documented for a design dossier are summarized in the revision history of the DMR Index and the DMR Index will serve as a Technical File/Design Dossier.
Design History File (DHF) Webinar
If you are interested in learning more about design history files, there is still time to register for today’s live training webinar. For a cost of $129 you will receive:
- a link to join the live webinar @ 10am EDT
- a native slide deck for the new live webinar
- a link to download a recording of the live webinar
This live webinar explains what needs to be included in your procedures for design and development, but the webinar explains how and when to create a design history file (DHF). After you create a procedure, you can show the recording of this webinar to your design and development team to ensure that design and development documentation is compliant and updates are efficiently maintained.
After 9:30am EST, you will be able to purchase the webinar as recording only.
CLICK HERE to register for the live DHF webinar or to purchase the recording.