Vendor IFUs: Communication & Trust (But Verify)


Vendors and SPD should agree in the importance of IFU’s. In addition to keeping the patient safe, they also help maintain the serviceability of the device. Frustration mounts for vendors when [seemingly] out of nowhere, a new initiative of updating IFU’s comes up and they are unable to use instruments that have been processed many times before at the hospital.


Clear communication of your IFU initiative to vendors and their surgeons is critical to avoid conflict and disruption to surgeries. Establish an efficient process through which vendors can provide the information being requested. Then, ensure that information is organized and stored at your facility so it can easily be referenced in the future. Relying on reps for this is futile.


Rep training is primarily focused on the use of the product in the OR setting. IFU’s, as they are used by SPD, are not commonly understood by reps. They should, however, be able to help facilitate access to the most up-to-date IFU from their manufacturer’s marketing department. You can rely on them to get you the most recent version, but make sure your trained SPD staff interpret the information as it relates to your facility.


Clear messaging and expectations from the healthcare system is critical. If the message comes from the SPD manager and staff, alone, it’s unlikely to be successful. Given advanced notice and a clear process, your good vendor partners will show up.