Software validation is a critical tool used to assure the quality of device software and software
automated operations. Software validation can increase the usability and reliability of the device,
resulting in decreased failure rates, fewer recalls and corrective actions, less risk to patients and users, and reduced liability to device manufacturers. Software validation can also reduce long term costs by making it easier and less costly to reliably modify software and revalidate software changes. Software maintenance can represent a very large percentage of the total cost of software over its entire life cycle.
An established comprehensive software validation process helps to reduce the long-term cost of
software by reducing the cost of validation for each subsequent release of the software.
Software validation is a part of the design validation for a finished device, but is not separately defined in the Quality System regulation. In practice, software validation activities may occur both during, as well as at the end of the software development life cycle to ensure that all requirements have been fulfilled. Since software is usually part of a larger hardware system, the validation of software typically includes evidence that all software requirements have been implemented correctly and completely and are traceable to system requirements. A conclusion that software is validated is highly dependent upon comprehensive software testing, inspections, analyses, and other verification tasks performed at each stage of the software development life cycle. Testing of device software functionality in a simulated use environment, and user site testing are typically included as components of an overall design validation program for a software automated device.
Software verification and software validation are difficult because a developer cannot test forever, and it is hard to know how much evidence is enough. In large measure, software validation is a matter of developing a “level of confidence” that the device meets all requirements and user expectations for the software automated functions and features of the device. Measures such as defects found in specifications documents, estimates of defects remaining, testing coverage, and other techniques are all used to develop an acceptable level of confidence before shipping the product. The level of confidence, and therefore the level of software validation, verification, and testing effort needed, will vary depending upon the safety risk (hazard) posed by the automated functions of the device.
Software verification provides objective evidence that the design outputs of a particular phase of the software development life cycle meet all of the specified requirements for that phase. Software verification looks for consistency, completeness, and correctness of the software and its supporting documentation, as it is being developed, and provides support for a subsequent conclusion that software is validated. Software testing is one of many verification activities intended to confirm that software development output meets its input requirements. Other verification activities include various static and dynamic analyses, code and document inspections, walkthroughs, and other techniques. good manufacturing practices
21 CFR Part 11 Requirements
Medical Device 510(k) Clearances