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Prospective PMCF Study

A prospective PMCF study involves the planned collection of data from patients using the medical device going forward in time. This type of study is designed and implemented to gather new data on the device’s performance and safety as it is used in clinical practice

Advantages and Disadvantages of Prospective Study


  1. High-Quality Data: Prospective studies allow for the collection of high-quality, standardized data. Researchers can design data collection protocols to ensure consistency and completeness.
  2. Controlled Design: Researchers can design the study to control for confounding variables and biases, improving the validity of the findings.
  3. Regulatory Preference: Regulatory bodies often view prospective data as more robust and reliable, facilitating compliance and increasing the likelihood of regulatory approval.
  4. Flexibility in Data Collection: The study design can be tailored to collect specific types of data needed for thorough evaluation, allowing researchers to address particular research questions or regulatory requirements.


  1. Time-Consuming: Prospective studies require significant time to plan, recruit patients, and collect data over the study period, delaying the availability of results.
  2. High Cost: The need for new data collection, patient follow-up, and potentially additional clinical procedures increases the overall cost of the study.
  3. Recruitment Challenges: Enrolling a sufficient number of participants and ensuring their continued participation can be challenging, especially if the study requires long-term follow-up.
  4. Longer Regulatory Approval: The time required to gather and analyze data means a longer wait for regulatory approval and market feedback, which can delay the implementation of any necessary changes based on the study findings.

Our experts developed PMCF Plan templates, and SOP, in line with EN ISO 13485:2016, Section 8.2.1 and MEDDEV NB-MED/2.12/Rec.1 guideline. During the preparation of the MDR Technical Documentation File, the clinical evaluation report should be concluded with the help of appropriate PMS Procedure, relevant SOPs, templates and a report with its conclusion.

Reasons for Conducting Prospective PMCF Studies

  • High-Quality Data Collection: Prospective studies are designed to collect standardized and controlled data, ensuring high-quality and reliable results. This controlled environment allows for precise measurement of outcomes and reduces the likelihood of data inconsistencies.
  • Regulatory Standards Compliance: Prospective studies are often preferred by regulators due to their robustness and the high quality of data they generate. They provide a structured approach to monitoring and evaluating the device’s performance over time.
  • Bias Control: These studies are designed to minimize confounding variables and biases. By planning the study design and data collection methods in advance, researchers can control for potential biases and ensure the validity of the study’s findings.

Conducting Prospective PMCF Studies

  • Study Design: Define the study protocol, including objectives, endpoints, and data collection methods. This involves developing a detailed plan that outlines the study’s aims, the criteria for patient selection, and the procedures for data collection and analysis.
  • Patient Recruitment: Enroll patients who meet the inclusion criteria. This step involves identifying and recruiting participants who fit the study’s predefined criteria, ensuring a representative sample for the study.
  • Data Collection: Collect data as patients use the device, following the study protocol. Data is gathered in real-time, capturing detailed information on the device’s performance and any adverse events.
  • Data Monitoring: Continuously monitor the data for quality and completeness. Regular monitoring ensures that data is being collected accurately and consistently, allowing for timely identification and resolution of any issues.
  • Data Analysis: Perform statistical analysis on the collected data. This step involves analyzing the data to assess the device’s performance, safety, and any observed trends or patterns.

Study Process

  1. Planning: Define study objectives, design, and endpoints. This involves setting clear goals, developing a detailed study plan, and determining the specific outcomes to be measured.
  2. Ethics Approval: Obtain approval from Ethics Committees (EC). Ethical review and approval are essential to ensure that the study is conducted in accordance with ethical standards and that the rights and well-being of participants are protected.
  3. Recruitment: Identify and enroll eligible patients. This step involves recruiting participants who meet the inclusion criteria and obtaining their informed consent to participate in the study.
  4. Data Collection: Collect data prospectively as patients use the device. Data is gathered according to the study protocol, capturing detailed and real-time information on the device’s performance and any adverse events.
  5. Data Monitoring: Monitor data collection for adherence to the protocol. Continuous monitoring ensures that data collection is consistent with the study plan and allows for early detection and resolution of any issues.
  6. Data Analysis: Analyze the collected data statistically. This step involves applying appropriate statistical techniques to analyze the data and identify significant findings related to the device’s performance and safety.
  7. Reporting: Prepare and submit regulatory reports. The study’s findings are compiled into a comprehensive report that is submitted to regulatory authorities for review and approval.

Detailed Study Components

Sales Data

  • Retrospective Study: Use existing sales data to correlate with usage patterns and adverse events. Sales data can provide insights into how widely the device is used and help identify any correlations between sales volumes and reported adverse events.
  • Prospective Study: Collect sales data concurrently to monitor market trends and usage. Prospective collection of sales data allows for real-time monitoring of how the device is being adopted in the market and its performance over time.

Patient Criteria

  • Retrospective Study: Define inclusion and exclusion criteria based on existing records. These criteria are used to select a representative sample from historical data, ensuring that the study includes relevant patient populations.
  • Prospective Study: Set clear inclusion and exclusion criteria for patient enrollment to ensure a representative sample. This step involves defining the characteristics of patients who are eligible to participate in the study, ensuring that the sample accurately reflects the target population.

Sample Size

  • Retrospective Study: Determine sample size based on available data, aiming for a statistically significant cohort. The sample size is calculated to ensure that the study has enough power to detect meaningful differences or trends in the data.
  • Prospective Study: Calculate sample size based on study objectives and expected outcomes, ensuring enough power to detect differences. This involves using statistical methods to determine the appropriate sample size needed to achieve the study’s objectives and ensure robust results.

Principal Investigator (PI) Information

  • Retrospective Study: The PI oversees data retrieval and analysis, ensuring data integrity and compliance with study protocols. The PI is responsible for the overall conduct of the study, including data collection, analysis, and reporting.
  • Prospective Study: The PI is responsible for study design, patient recruitment, data collection, and adherence to ethical standards. The PI plays a critical role in ensuring that the study is conducted ethically and in accordance with the study protocol.

Regulatory Clearance

  • Retrospective Study: Submit a detailed study plan to regulatory authorities, including data sources and analysis methods. This involves preparing and submitting a comprehensive plan that outlines the study’s objectives, methods, and expected outcomes for regulatory review and approval.
  • Prospective Study: Obtain regulatory and ethics committee approval before commencing the study, adhering to guidelines such as ISO 14155:2020. This step involves submitting the study protocol and other required documents to regulatory and ethics committees for review and approval.

Required Study Document

  1. Study Protocol: Detailed plan including objectives, methodology, patient criteria, and data analysis plan. The study protocol serves as a blueprint for the study, outlining the purpose, design, and procedures.
  2. Informed Consent Form (ICF): For prospective studies, to ensure patient awareness and voluntary participation. The ICF provides detailed information about the study, ensuring that participants understand the study and voluntarily agree to participate.
  3. Case Report Forms (CRFs): Templates for systematic data collection. CRFs are used to collect and record data consistently and systematically throughout the study.
  4. Data Management Plan: Procedures for data collection, storage, and analysis. The data management plan outlines how data will be collected, stored, and analyzed, ensuring data integrity and security.
  5. Ethics Committee Approval: Documentation of ethical review and approval. Ethical approval ensures that the study meets ethical standards and protects participants’ rights and well-being.
  6. Regulatory Submissions: Required documents for regulatory authority review, including risk assessments and compliance statements. Regulatory submissions include detailed information about the study and its compliance with regulatory requirements.
  7. Interim and Final Reports: Periodic and final reports documenting study progress and findings. These reports provide updates on the study’s progress and present the final results and conclusions.

As a leading global medical device regulatory services provider, the I3CGLOBAL team is always ready with the resources to support your organization in EU MDR regulations covering PMS, PMCF, and PSUR Reporting through Clinical Documentation.

Frequently Asked Questions

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