MeDevIS Platform Announced To Boost Access To Medical Technologies and Devices

  • 11 Jul 2024
  • 2 Mins Read
  • 〜 by World Health Organization


The World Health Organisation (WHO) has introduced Medical Devices Information System (MeDevIS), an online platform and the first global open-access clearing house for information on medical devices. It is designed to support governments, regulators and users in their decision-making on the selection, procurement and use of medical devices for diagnostics, testing and treatment of diseases and health conditions.

The MeDevIS platform includes 2,301 types of medical devices used for broad-ranging health issues, including reproductive, maternal, newborn and child health, noncommunicable diseases including cancer, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, as well as infectious diseases such as COVID-19.

“The number of medical technologies used in health care is growing, as is their complexity, which can make it challenging for health care practitioners and patients to navigate,” said Dr. Yukiko Nakatani, WHO Assistant Director-General for Access to Medicines and Health Products. “We aim to provide a one-stop shop of international information, which can be invaluable for those making decisions on life-saving medical technologies, especially in resource-limited settings, and to improve access.”

There are over 10,000 different medical devices that are being used for the protection, prevention, diagnostics, treatment or rehabilitation of health issues globally. These include multiple simple and complex medical technologies ranging from pulse oximeters, digital thermometers, single-use syringes and medical masks to various diagnostic laboratory tests and other medical equipment, including electrocardiograms, endoscopes, all imaging radiology technologies, and technologies used for treatments such as hemodialysis units and defibrillators, implantable prosthesis, cardiac stents and complex radiotherapy equipment.

However, currently, there are multiple, separate sources of information produced by major international organisations, regulatory bodies, and donor agencies, making it difficult for users to discern and utilise the most reliable data. In MeDevIS, users can check devices they require, including type, level of healthcare systems to support the device (such as community or specialised hospitals), scope of the device, and infrastructure required, among other categories.

MeDevIS replaces paper-based literature searches across multiple publications with non-standard device names, which can add to the complexity. Along with providing a single platform, MedevIS also aims to help make the naming of medical devices simpler.

MeDevIS references two international naming systems for medical devices – the European Medical Device Nomenclature (EMDN), mostly used in European countries for registration in the European database, and the Global Medical Device Nomenclature (GMDN) used in regulatory agencies in Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom and the USA and other Member States. The naming systems include coding and definitions and can be used in every country to facilitate registration for regulatory approval, procurement and supply, inventories in health facilities, tracking and pricing.

“The MeDevIS platform can be useful for national policymakers to develop or update their national lists for the procurement of health technologies and devices and can contribute to the progress towards universal health coverage,” said Dr. Deus Mubangizi, WHO Director for Health Products Policy and Standards in the Access to Medicines and Health Products Division. “It can also help agencies in health insurance and reimbursement policies for patients.”

This is the first time WHO has developed such a global repository on medical devices, based on its experience with the WHO Priority Medical Devices List (MDL), which itself was based on the experience of creating the WHO Essential Medicines List (EML). Approaching its 50th anniversary in 2025, EML is regarded as a pillar of public health in countries across the world, supporting health progress and touching billions of lives.

WHO will be continually improving the MeDevIS platform, engaging multiple stakeholders and partners and expanding it with additional technologies and devices used in various health areas, including in pandemic and emergency settings.