Quality Assurance Engineer, Harmonic Bionics

Clarissa Archer

Clarissa Archer, with a decade in medical device engineering, serves as a quality assurance engineer at Harmonic Bionics. Her expertise in regulatory compliance guides the transition from research to market-ready innovations, streamlining processes within cutting-edge robotic rehabilitation solutions.

About Harmonic Bionics
Harmonic Bionics, led by a highly talented and successful leadership team with vast medical device experience, is a commercial-stage robotics and digital health company that aims to unlock human functional capabilities through robotics.
Medical Devices
Austin, Texas, United States of America
Harmonic Bionics and Unifize: A Seamless Transition to Regulatory Compliance
Clarissa Archer shares her experience integrating Unifize into Harmonic Bionics, underscoring its value in streamlining change control, facilitating communication, and ensuring robust documentation for regulatory compliance in the medical device sector.
Harmonic Bionics and Unifize: A Seamless Transition to Regulatory Compliance


Clarissa Archer, a Quality Assurance Engineer at Harmonic Bionics, shares her insights on how Unifize has significantly streamlined compliance and documentation processes in the context of rigorous FDA standards.


Joining a research-focused startup with a shift towards medical device compliance, Archer encountered the daunting task of bridging gaps in change control and documentation. The existing systems were cumbersome, involving lost documents, physical signatures, and inefficient communication that could not support the dynamic needs of a small, fast-paced company.


After evaluating several quality management systems (QMS), including paper-based and other digital solutions, Harmonic Bionics chose Unifize for its customizable nature and ability to handle comprehensive compliance needs such as electronic signatures in line with 21 CFR part 11.

Ease of Use

Unifize stood out for its user-friendly interface, allowing Archer and her team to configure the system to their specific needs rather than contorting their processes to fit the software. This flexibility was crucial in organizing Design History Files (DHF) and other critical documentation.

Communication and Collaboration

The platform revolutionized internal communication, centralizing discussions and feedback within Unifize, thus reducing the reliance on emails and informal chats that could lead to lost or forgotten information.

Documentation and Compliance

Unifize's ability to produce clean, comprehensive PDFs with complete audit trails empowered the team to present coherent and precise documentation during audits, displaying the rationale behind each decision and action taken.


With Unifize, Harmonic Bionics experienced a transformation in how change requests and orders were managed, condensing weeks of work into mere days. The engineers quickly adopted the system, recognizing its potential to maintain compliance while still moving at the desired fast pace.

Professional Preparedness

The detailed record-keeping and history provided by Unifize allowed Archer and her colleagues to answer auditors' questions confidently and promptly, without the frantic scramble for information that was previously the norm.

Regulatory Alignment

Unifize not only streamlined FDA compliance but also aligned with ISO standards and IEC regulations relevant to the medical device industry, demonstrating its comprehensive applicability.


Unifize has become an indispensable tool at Harmonic Bionics, enhancing compliance, simplifying documentation, and ensuring that all team members are aligned and informed. The platform's adaptability and ease of use have made it a cornerstone in the company's shift towards regulatory focus, proving that speed and compliance can coexist in the fast-evolving world of medical robotics.

[00:00 - 00:14]
Yeah, when you have the big scary FDA people or whoever coming out, you have everything that you need and the whole source of truth right there in writing, you're able to say, “Here's why we made those choices and here's what those choices were”.

[00:14 - 00:33]
you have the ability to print it out on a PDF so you can show them, here's the final product. All the sins are hidden, but they're able to be there so that you remember, when you're being asked very specific questions that, two years from now when you're audited, it's really easy to forget why you made one specific choice.

[00:33 - 00:51]
And so being able to have that conversation there and that history is huge because then you present them with the nice PDF that Unifize makes for you with the whole audit trail, everything you need. And then you have like the less formal conversation that you can look back on and when they say, why did you make these choices?

[00:51 - 01:21]
And you kind of look and you're like, Oh yeah, of course I forgot about that, there was an error. There was, you know, a trending issue with some non conformance. And here's why we made those choices. And you can come off very professional prepared without having to say, let me look into that and furiously typing over at the people in the back room who are flipping through papers, freaking out. You have it all there.

[01:21 - 01:55]
So my name is Clarissa Archer. I am a quality assurance engineer at Harmonic Bionics, and I've been here for just under a year. But prior to that, I've worked at other medical device companies, and so I've been working in the medical device for about ten years now. Harmonic Bionics is a startup company that focuses on robotics, our primary robot is Harmony SHR, and that is to help people with either neurological impairments or muscular impairments rehab their shoulder.

[01:55 - 02:33]
And so we have to follow the FDA 21 CFR 820, it's not required by the FDA to follow ISO 13485 or 14971 or ISO 9001, but those are heavily recommended. And so we also try to follow compliance to those ISO standards. I think we also looking at IEC 60601 62304 from like a software and robotics side. Now, when Denis and I first started around the same time about a year ago, we were coming into an organization that was primarily research focused with not a lot of individuals who had medical device experience necessarily.

[02:33 - 02:54]
And so we noticed a lot of gaps in what would be needed in order to take our company from research focus to medical device compliance focused, regulatory focused. And so with that involved, noticing those gaps was, you know, there was a lot of focus on change control and documentation.

[02:54 - 03:35]
But there was difficulty in the communication of change control and actually documenting what changes were being made. And of course there is documentation being lost having to be rewritten because it was lost we had some individuals who were working remotely or from different areas who were in different states having to come down and physically sign something or use DocuSign or something like that, that was a big pain point for us. in looking for a new QMS, you know, we looked at several options, one of which was paper based still, using SharePoint, using paper and revamping that whole system

[03:35 - 04:08]
when we just decided pretty immediately that that wasn't going to work, especially with such a small company wanting to be able to collaborate better. You know, we looked at several other systems and primarily we looked at what modules were available. Were they able to handle change control? Were they able to handle product lifecycle management? 21 CFR part 11 So electronic signatures, that cut out a few options that we had originally looked at because we needed something that was compliant to electronic signatures,

[04:08 - 04:44]
So we looked at different companies such as Master Control, ETQ, Greenlight Guru, and they all kind of had the same sort of package that we were looking for, but there was something quite missing from them. you know, we also wanted to look at ease of use, the user interface that was really important to myself, being able to organize like a DHF within a program, from my prior company. I had previously used Agile and, you know, with a lot of different systems that aren't really configurable, you have to kind of work against the machine to create what you need. 

[04:44 - 05:05]
What I really enjoyed about Unifize is the fact that we could configure the program to be what we needed it to be rather than trying to work against a program to make it fit into what, for example, we'd want a Design History File to look like we were able to configure Unifize to design it, how we needed it and how we wanted it.

[05:05 - 05:27]
Being able to communicate with others via Unifize was really useful because, you know, in other programs and other companies, there's a lot of emails, watercooler chats, messages, and there's a lot of stuff that can kind of get lost or, Oh, hey, I wanted you to add this, that and the other, or you know, sending feedback.

[05:27 - 05:40]
And then when it comes, you know, two weeks later when that feedback is done and I'm re-reviewing a document and I'm trying to go okay what did I tell them to do in the first place. I'm constantly working on several different projects at a time

[05:40 - 06:00]
and so being able to go into Unifize and see that and see the conversation and say, Oh yeah, I wanted them to add this detail here or change this up, that is so useful in order to be able to not only keep track of everything that's going on per item, but to make sure that we're all on the same page.

[06:00 - 06:43]
Having the Unifize team discuss and show the engineers how to use it, they really adopted it pretty quickly and were able to notice like, Oh wait, previously I had to do a change request and then a change order and all of this. And it would take three weeks to implement, from beginning to end. Now it can take a couple of days. that really helped with the adoption and the understanding that, yes, we can still move fast, but we need to move fast in a compliant way. And so making it easier to document changes and to document these things, I think really took out a lot of the pain of having to document it in the first place.
My role and prior MedTech QMS experience
Clarissa Archer, a Quality Assurance Engineer at Harmonic Bionics, shares her decade-long journey in the medical device industry. Beginning in product development, she transitioned to quality assurance, drawn by her passion for risk analysis and compliance. With a biomedical engineering background from Texas A&M, she emphasizes the importance of hands-on experience in understanding regulations in the medical device space.
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About Harmonic Bionics, an early stage med device company
Clarissa Archer sheds light on Harmonic Bionics, a robotics startup. Their flagship product, Harmony SHR, assists rehabilitation for those with shoulder impairments due to neurological or muscular issues. Initially research-driven, the company now emphasizes quality assurance, aligning with FDA regulations and recommended ISO standards.
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Comparing Unifize to other eQMS software
Clarissa Archer narrates Harmonic Bionics' journey in searching for an optimal QMS. Evaluating various systems, they prioritized features like change control, product lifecycle management, and electronic signature compliance. While they considered prominent systems like Master Control, ETQ, and Greenlight Guru, their quest for seamless collaboration was paramount.
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What it really means to Unifize your information and people
Clarissa Archer shares the transformative impact of Unifize on Harmonic Bionics' operations. Beyond just a QMS, Unifize emerged as a tool that seamlessly connected people and information. Whether dealing with complex scenarios like non-conformances or change orders, the platform ensured they always had a holistic view, enhancing clarity and decision-making.
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Why Unifize's approach to collaboration is transformational
Describing the communication challenges Harmonic Bionics faced in the past, Clarissa Archer praises Unifize for its centralized approach. Unlike previous tools where information often got lost in the shuffle, Unifize provided a consolidated platform that made tracking and acting on feedback more streamlined, especially during multitasking.
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How Unifize's no-code configuration speeds up implementation
Clarissa Archer emphasizes the significance of adaptability in Harmonic Bionics' choice of a QMS. With Unifize, they could shape the software to their specific needs, bypassing the rigidity of traditional systems. The power to make direct adjustments without relying on external teams was a game-changer for them, speeding up processes significantly.
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Implementing a collaborative eQMS in 4 weeks
Clarissa Archer recalls the initial days of Harmonic Bionics' adoption of Unifize. While they had experience with systems that took ages to configure, Unifize stood out with its rapid setup. Working closely with the Unifize team, they tailored the system to their unique requirements, finding it far more adaptable than larger systems like Agile.
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Getting engineering to adopt a new eQMS
Clarissa Archer reflects on Harmonic Bionics' transition from a research-centric organization to one focused on compliance. She reminisces about the sudden surge in documentation and the challenges it presented to engineers and product developers. Accustomed to flexible laboratory environments, the team had to adapt to the structured, documentation-heavy world of compliance, making the choice of a user-friendly system like Unifize crucial.
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How to make facing FDA audits easy
Clarissa Archer talks about the daunting experience of preparing for audits, especially from rigorous bodies like the FDA. She stresses the importance of a robust documentation system, serving as a "source of truth" during these audits. With Unifize, they could effortlessly produce, present, and recall documentation, simplifying the audit process and instilling confidence in their decisions and actions.
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Risk Management made easier on Unifize
Clarissa explains the criticality of risk management in the medical device sector, emphasizing patient safety. With Unifize, they've streamlined risk management, integrating their documentation and analysis seamlessly. The platform facilitates creating input-output matrices, linking design choices directly to user needs and demonstrating the impact on safety, thus simplifying compliance and ensuring a clear path to safe, effective medical solutions.
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Streamlining Change Control on Unifize
In this video, Clarissa shares her experience with Unifize, emphasizing its impact on change control and document management in quality management systems. She highlights the challenges of maintaining up-to-date engineering drawings and documentation, particularly in a traditional pen-and-paper environment. Clarissa illustrates how Unifize streamlines these processes, ensuring engineers access the latest revisions, understand changes, and comply with FDA requirements. She praises Unifize's integrated checklist feature and approval process, which simplifies change orders and prevents delays, even when key personnel are unavailable. Clarissa's testimonial underscores Unifize's efficiency, detailing how it transformed their change control process from a lengthy endeavor to a more manageable and efficient system.
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Managing Incoming Material and Lot Tracking on Unifize
In this video, Clarissa discusses the challenges and solutions for managing incoming materials and lot tracking using Unifize. They emphasize the difficulties faced in quality assurance, especially when parts or products do not meet inspection standards. The video illustrates how Unifize streamlines this process by enabling easy tracking of lots, keeping essential documents like certificates of conformance and material certificates organized. The speaker highlights the convenience of having all relevant information, such as lot numbers and PO numbers, scanned and stored in Unifize, facilitating efficient tracking and inspection. They conclude by praising Unifize's collaborative features, which significantly enhanced their team's engagement with the new Quality Management System (QMS).
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Using Unifize to track Non-Conformances and Deviations
Clarissa delves into the intricacies of tracking production deviations and non-conformances through Unifize. She sheds light on the platform's adeptness in generating quality notifications, seamlessly linking them to specific parts, suppliers, and relevant processes. Clarissa underscores how this functionality not only aids in pinpointing recurring quality issues but also streamlines the management of corrective actions. Her enthusiasm is evident as she details Unifize's role in enhancing quality tracking and review processes.
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Why Unifize makes post-market compliance a breeze
In this insightful video, Clarissa tackles the complexities of post-market compliance in risk management, focusing on the medical device sector. She emphasizes Unifize's pivotal role in effortlessly connecting customer complaints to corresponding solutions and risk assessments. Clarissa explains how this integration drastically cuts down the laborious task of complaint analysis, enabling proactive and efficient risk control updates, a feature she finds particularly advantageous.
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Enabling Supplier Quality on Unifize
Clarissa shares her experiences with supplier quality management on Unifize, highlighting how the platform has revolutionized this aspect of her work. She discusses the challenges of dealing with non-conforming parts from various suppliers and illustrates how Unifize aids in documenting and analyzing these issues. Through her narrative, Clarissa showcases Unifize's capability in identifying supplier performance trends, facilitating impactful discussions, and driving quality improvements, all contributing to enhanced manufacturing efficiency.
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Using Unifize to simplify Approval processes
Clarissa explores the simplification of approval processes through Unifize in this engaging video. She narrates the challenges typically encountered in securing change order approvals and how Unifize's advanced features offer a solution. Clarissa is particularly impressed with the platform's flexibility in approval settings and its ability to integrate various processes and documents, which she credits for enhancing project management efficiency and decision-making clarity.
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Getting better visibility using Unifize Dashboards
Clarissa enthusiastically discusses the advantages of Unifize Dashboards in improving visibility and workflow management. She describes how custom dashboards can alert specific teams about pending tasks, like change orders awaiting implementation. Clarissa appreciates the dashboards' ability to prioritize tasks and centralize information, highlighting their role in streamlining operations and fostering team collaboration.
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Managing your Design History File on Unifize
In this video, Clarissa talks about the transformative experience of managing Design History Files (DHF) using Unifize. She contrasts the challenges of traditional DHF management with the streamlined, intuitive approach offered by Unifize. Clarissa details how the platform efficiently links various documents, processes, and reports, facilitating a smoother review process for manufacturing readiness and design transfers, a feature she finds exceptionally beneficial for product development.
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