What is a medical device?
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What is a medical device?

Depending on your role in the healthcare system, your answer may vary.

A patient’s response might be an artificial hip, knee, rods for broken bones, or a pacemaker. That patient would be correct, but those are just the familiar devices and a small sliver of the overall market.

A physician or healthcare administrator would answer with a greater knowledge of familiar devices found in their respective specialty or facility, but most likely possess limited knowledge about other like-devices and progressions in technology.

A medical device manufacturer would probably provide their entire product catalog consisting of a few niche devices, or potentially tens of thousands of devices across many different product types (depending on the size of the company). 

The FDA’s formal definition states,

A device is: An instrument, apparatus, implement, machine, contrivance, implant, in vitro reagent, or other similar or related article, including a component part, or accessory which is intended to affect the structure or any function of the body of man or other animals, and which does not achieve its primary intended purposes through chemical action within.

This all-inclusive definition oversees more than 6,500 different medical device product types at over 26,600 registered facilities worldwide. Relatable Healthcare classifies medical devices differently, attempting to make sense of the FDA’s mind-numbing amount of registered devices.


Relatable has taken a data-centric approach to identifying, classifying, and standardizing medical devices. The Relatable software platform ingests usage data from surgery centers, hospitals, device manufacturers, and other healthcare organizations by first identifying known and unknown products. An unknown product is researched and understood, then labeled with searchable, definable, and concise data points. Some data points are universal, such as product number or manufacturer or approval pathway. Other data points are specific to the product type assigned to an individual device such as weight or number of sutures or variable locking.

Using this system of classification, Relatable is able to quickly store, query, and decipher medical devices at a generic level (like FDA classifications) while also providing comprehensive and tailored solutions to a healthcare organization and individual physicians.

Ask us here at Relatable, and we’ll tell you that a medical device is anything used to treat a patient that is definable, quantifiable, and has a known price point.


In addition to devices, Relatable identifies and separates medical supplies and disposables into their own categories with relevant data. Doing so adds another layer of definable characteristics, thus allowing a facility and its surgeons to evaluate devices and associated supplies together or individually - improving knowledge, consistent communication, and driving bargaining power toward lower price points.

Does your healthcare organization currently have a system of quickly defining, understanding, tracking, and evaluating medical devices? Can you create product comparison tables that identify what data physicians and administrators need when making purchasing decisions? Do you have a software system that logs usage, provides regular feedback, graphs outcomes, and benchmarks prices and results?

If the answer is no, that’s okay. It's not too late to get started and Relatable is here to help!

Reach out to us through our website or the contact button below. We’ll get back to you soon and develop a custom plan to help you better understand your medical devices, where your spend is really going, and how we can help you achieve your future financial goals.


Contact Relatable Healthcare