Episode 358

#358: FDAs Voluntary Improvement Program

In this episode of the Global Medical Device Podcast, host Etienne Nichols sits down with Kim Kaplan from ISACA at the MD&M West trade show in Anaheim, California, to discuss the pivotal Voluntary Improvement Program (VIP). This conversation sheds light on how the program, stemming from FDA’s Case for Quality initiative, utilizes the Capability Maturity Model Integration (CMMI) to push medical device companies beyond compliance, towards excellence. Kaplan elucidates the history of VIP, its benefits, and how it aligns with the FDA’s vision for a more innovative and quality-focused MedTech industry.

Key Timestamps:

  • [00:00:30] Introduction of Kim Kaplan and the Voluntary Improvement Program
  • [00:05:00] Explanation of CMMI and its adoption in the medical device industry
  • [00:15:45] Distinctions between CMMI and other quality methodologies
  • [00:25:30] In-depth discussion on the specifics and benefits of the Voluntary Improvement Program
  • [00:40:00] How companies can implement change based on VIP insights
  • [00:50:00] FDA’s perspective and regulatory opportunities tied to VIP participation

Notable Quotes:

  • “Organizations that are compliant aren't necessarily avoiding the types and numbers of issues faced by non-compliant ones.” - Kim Kaplan
  • “CMMI focuses on the 'what' to do rather than the 'how,' allowing for a framework that compliments existing processes.” - Kim Kaplan
  • “The Voluntary Improvement Program isn't just about compliance; it's about embracing continuous improvement as a culture.” - Kim Kaplan

Key Takeaways:

  1. Understanding VIP: The program aims to elevate quality and operational efficiency through a collaboration involving FDA, MDIC, industry stakeholders, and ISACA.
  2. CMMI’s Role: CMMI’s flexible, globally adopted framework helps MedTech companies identify and implement best practices in product development and project management.
  3. Benefits of Participation: Beyond improving quality, VIP participation can streamline regulatory processes, fostering quicker innovation and market access.

Practical Tips for Listeners:

  1. Engage with CMMI: Consider how CMMI’s framework could complement your company’s existing quality and project management processes.
  2. Explore VIP: Assess your organization's readiness and potential benefits from enrolling in the Voluntary Improvement Program.
  3. Continuous Improvement: Embrace continuous improvement, not just for compliance, but as a cornerstone of your company culture.

Future Questions:

  1. How will the integration of AI and digital health technologies impact the criteria for CMMI and VIP?
  2. In what ways might the Voluntary Improvement Program evolve to further incentivize innovation in MedTech?
  3. How will FDA’s regulatory framework adapt to the rapid advancements in medical device technologies?

References and Resources:

Questions for the Audience:

  • Poll: Which area of MedTech do you believe will benefit most from VIP and CMMI in the next five years? Email us your thoughts at podcast@greenlight.guru
  • Discussion Question: How do you envision the future of healthcare changing with advancements in MedTech quality and innovation?

Feedback and Future Topics:

We value your feedback! Please email us at podcast@greenlight.guru with your thoughts on this episode, suggestions for future topics, or any questions you’d like addressed in upcoming episodes.


This episode is brought to you by Greenlight Guru, a leader in MedTech solutions. Their eQMS platform aligns perfectly with today's discussion on quality and innovation in the medical device industry. Special offer for our listeners: www.greenlight.guru

About the Podcast

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Global Medical Device Podcast powered by Greenlight Guru
The Global Medical Device Podcast, powered by Greenlight Guru, is where today's brightest minds in the medical device industry go to get their most useful and actionable insider knowledge, direct from some of the world's leading medical device experts ...

About your host

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Etienne Nichols

Mechanical Engineer, Medical Device Guru, and host of the Global Medical Device Podcast