WASHINGTON — U.S. health officials are considering new steps to improve the government’s system for overseeing medical devices.

The approval process has been criticized for years for failing to catch problems with defective implants.

Tuesday’s plan from the Food and Drug Administration includes few immediate changes, but could eventually increase safeguards on such things as pacemakers, artificial joints, medical scanners and other devices.

Among the measures, the FDA says it will consider requiring additional training for doctors who implant certain high-risk devices.

The agency has repeatedly been forced to issue safety alerts about unexpected problems with devices. In some cases, those issues only became clear years after the products were approved for use in patients.

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