AHRMM began in the early 1950s as part of the American Hospital Association. Over the past sixty years, the Association has continually grown and reinvented itself to become the leading professional organization for the healthcare resource and materials management field. Read through AHRMM’s history to see how the organization developed into a vital part of the healthcare supply chain industry.
- 1951 − The Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management began on September 19 in Chicago, when the Board of Trustees of the American Hospital Association (AHA) approved the formation of personal membership departments within the Association's framework.
- 1957 − On September 28, The Personal Membership Department for Hospital Purchasing Agents was officially authorized by vote of the Coordinating Committee and Board of Trustees of the Association. It was carried through immediately, and numbered 284 members by December 31. A departmental committee serving under the AHA Council on Administrative Practices administered the department. The Society's first newsletter, The Purchasing Agents' Newsletter, was also published. It contained new specifications for merchandise and purchasing guides for many products.
- 1962 − AHRMM’s first annual conference was held in conjunction with the AHA convention. It added a business session to the general sessions. On November 15, the AHA Board of Trustees voted to approve a major reorganization of the personal membership departments. The new Personal Membership Groups (PMGs) were designated into societies affiliated with the AHA. They were able to elect their own governing bodies, as well as their own Presidents and President-Elects. No longer under the guidance of the Council on Administrative Practices, but under the Council on Association Services, the American Society for Hospital Purchasing Agents (ASHPA) was established. As a society, ASHPA began to welcome regional chapters. To become an ASHPA affiliate, interested local groups had to complete an affiliation agreement with AHA. There were over 40 AHRMM chapters that provided a “home base” to thousands of healthcare supply chain professionals throughout the United States. They represent all nine AHA regions, as well as a region dedicated solely to the military.
- 1965 − The Board of Directors of ASHPA voted to establish the George R. Gossett Award to honor the first president of the Society. Today, this award is known as the Leadership Award. It is presented periodically to a member who has made outstanding contributions in the materials management field.
- 1970s − Throughout the decade, the Society grew to become a membership organization of 1,000 purchasing agents and materials managers from around the country and in several foreign nations.
- 1975 − The Society’s original name was changed to American Society for Hospital Purchasing and Materials Management (ASHPMM) to more accurately reflect the emergence of materials management systems in the hospital industry. ASHPMM was then one of 13 special PMGs in the AHA.
- 1980s − The concept of hospital materials management as a means of centralizing support operations for cost control grew. Membership numbers totaled 1,400. Of those, 55% were materials management professionals.
- 1983 − ASHPMM became the American Society for Hospital Materials Management (ASHMM) to reflect changes in the healthcare field.
- 1991 − The Society's 29th Annual Conference in Anaheim, California featured the first "Call for Presentations." This expanded program gave attendees more topic choices than ever before and featured the finest speakers in the field.
- 1992 − ASHMM members requested a trade show be developed that catered directly to their needs. ASHMM granted the request by adding their first exhibition during the 30th Annual Conference in Denver, Colorado. A new member benefit, Materials Management in Health Care magazine was introduced. American Hospitals Publishing, Inc., a subsidiary of the AHA, in cooperation with ASHMM, published the magazine. Later that year, the Board recognized the growing institutional diversity in the profession by voting to change the name from the American Society for Hospital Materials Management to the American Society for Healthcare Materials Management (ASHMM).
- 1994 − In response to the changes occurring in healthcare, ASHMM developed the Changing Role of Materials Management Task Force whose main responsibility was to identify the effects of current healthcare trends on materials management. To address the Task Force’s findings, ASHMM adopted an implementation plan, which went into effect the next year. ASHMM also joined a prestigious team of healthcare organizations in co-sponsoring the Efficient Healthcare Consumer Response™ (EHCR™) initiative. Its goal was to streamline products in the healthcare supply chain by improving efficiency and eliminating waste.
- 1995 − The ASHMM Annual Conference and Exhibition grew so much that it was no longer practical to meet with the AHA convention. For the first time in the ASHMM’s history, the Annual Conference & Exhibition was held separately during its own time and at its own place. It also introduced the first “Poster Sessions” allowing attendees and presenters to network on a one-on-one basis. Today, the Annual Conference & Exhibition receives rave reviews from both attendees and exhibitors and has more than tripled in size.
- 1997 – ASHMM developed CareerConnection, a job bulletin exclusively for members keeping them informed about career opportunities in the field.
- 1998 – ASHMM launched its first website to interactively provide members with the most up-to-date information on industry and member news as well the Annual Conference & Exhibition. ASHMM officially changed its name to the Association for Healthcare Resource & Materials Management (AHRMM) to reflect the diversity in our industry and the changing roles of resource and materials managers in the field. Changes in membership structure and board representation also occurred. Any person in healthcare supply chain activities (consultants, contract materials managers, manufacturers, and distribution employees) could become an active, full-fledged, voting member and run for office. In addition, two new At-Large board positions were added, not based on any of the existing 10 regions. These changes continue to build on the Association's strong foundation, meeting future challenges facing our members.
- 1999 – AHRMM held its first Leadership Training Conference to continue building strong bonds between the national organization and chapter leaders as well as provide high-level education to assist local leaders in the successful operation of their chapters. AHRMM also prepared for Y2K by appealing to all professionals in the healthcare supply chain to not overbuy. It was the prevailing opinion of the AHRMM Board of Directors and, specifically, the AHRMM Y2K Task Force that this issue was a serious matter for the entire healthcare industry. AHRMM was instrumental in obtaining pledges from it members to avoid overstocking and hoarding.
- 2000 – One of the highlights of the year was the introduction of AHRMM’s Recognition/Awards Program. The program, created to recognize members for achievements in cost containment, innovation, written works, and employee recognition, allowed AHRMM to award its members for a variety of skills that were not recognized in the past. The first e-Commerce Summit was held. Another significant accomplishment was creation of the Certified Materials & Resource Professional Program (CMRP). Introduced by the AHA Certification Center in collaboration with AHRMM, successful completion of this nationally recognized credential leads to healthcare materials and resource professionals receiving their CMRP designation.
- 2003 – AHRMM instituted a Leading Practices Committee and New Products and Services Committee. The Leading Practices Committee actively worked to ensure that the effective solutions to supply chain issues being implemented in individual hospitals, some with the help of their partners in industry, were documented and available to all. The New Products and Services Committee set up processes to evaluate new products and services to better serve the needs of materials managers.
2004 – AHRMM launched its online education program with six courses in the core areas of supply chain management: Purchasing, Inventory Distribution Management, Support Services, Information Systems, Finance, Strategic Planning, and Leadership. The courses offer technical information for those new to the field, the seasoned professional looking for a refresher course, or as preparation for the Certified Materials & Resource Professional certification.
AHRMM launched a new website to provide easier access to information and more materials management content. Three new electronic networking communication tools also rolled out this year. The ListServe, a discussion forum, and “chat room” functionality.
The 2004 Performance Indicators Study launched at the 2004 conference. The study focused on healthcare surgery supply chain management.
2005 – AHRMM launched its first-ever Awareness Campaign to raise awareness of the important role materials managers play in healthcare by releasing the video “What if there were no Materials Managers?” and embarking on a advertising campaign that saw ads placed in several prominent industry magazines, a web page, and email marketing. AHRMM lays the groundwork for adoption of uniform industry standards by collaborating with the Coalition for Healthcare eStandards, the National Alliance for Health Information Technology, and the Supply Chain Advisory Council.
2006 – AHRMM held its first Technology Conference in 2006, with education sessions and an exhibit floor solely dedicated to supply chain technology. AHRMM also published its Materials Management Policy and Procedures manual.
2007 – AHRMM increased its online offerings with three new courses, published the Disaster Preparedness Guide, and enhanced education offerings with monthly webcasts. AHRMM collaborated with the Health Information Management System Society (HIMSS) to present the first Supply Chain Technology Symposium for Healthcare Professionals at the HIMSS conference. AHRMM also launched a new website to offer better navigation, more information, and additional capabilities. The Knowledge Center became a repository for best practices, white papers, news items, healthcare supply chain articles, all searchable by keyword.
AHRMM adopted a new mission statement, To Advance Healthcare through Supply Chain Excellence thereby recognizing the interconnectedness that exists in the healthcare supply chain and the need to partner with manufacturers, distributors, GPOs, and providers.
In its continued efforts to develop and institute standards for healthcare data identifiers and data synchronization, AHRMM became a founding member of the Healthcare Supply Chain Standards Coalition or HSCSC, working with manufacturers, distributors, GPOs, and providers to adopt standards that are recognized and can be used worldwide.
AHRMM also launched SCMetrix™ with Arizona State University. SCMetrix™ is an online tool to offer hospitals a benchmarking and performance measurement instrument for focused performance improvement initiatives in the healthcare industry. In addition to ASU, AHRMM also collaborated with MIT and the University of Arkansas to work on efforts that will provide the industry with valuable, critical information to adopt evidence-based process and performance improvements.
2008 – AHRMM continued its integral role in data standards activities during key shifts in the movement. The Healthcare Supply Chain Standards Coalition officially folded into GS1 Healthcare US in July, about the same time that the Coalition for Healthcare eStandards became a committee of the Health Industry Group Purchasing Association (HIGPA). AHRMM’s Executive Director was elected to the GS1 Healthcare US Leadership Team, and AHRMM’s Past President was elected to both the GS1 Healthcare US Leadership Team and the GS1 Healthcare Global Leadership Team. Additionally, AHRMM maintained representation on most of the standards work groups.
AHRMM continued its collaboration with Arizona State University’s W.P. Carey School of Business on SCMetrix™, and the first dashboards were released. Along with Arizona State University, AHRMM partnered with two other academic institutions – MIT and the University of Arkansas – to support research that will produce best practices, improve logistics, and help direct the future of the health sector supply chain. AHRMM also supported Stonehill College in Massachusetts as it implemented an internship program and developed an undergraduate course in healthcare supply chain.
2009 – AHRMM partnered with GS1 Healthcare US to create and release the "Standardization Stat!" video promoting awareness of the issues of standardization in the healthcare supply chain.
AHRMM was a sponsor of the UDI Conference, the industry gathering to help medical device manufacturers, distributors, and hospitals prepare for the impending FDA Unique Device Identification requirement.
AHRMM conducted a one-day healthcare supply chain research symposium in September. Several academicians from across the nation conducting research on various aspects of the healthcare supply chain gathered to provide updates, exchange ideas, and further determine the future of research in this sector.
AHRMM collaborated with Materials Management in Health Care magazine on a Physician Preference Items survey.
2010 - AHRMM launched four online certificate programs designed to teach all aspects of the responsibilities in the following disciplines of the healthcare supply chain: Purchasing, Inventory Control, Negotiations, and Logistics.
AHRMM created a two-day Healthcare Supply Chain Leadership Institute which took place in Chicago on October 4 and 5, 2010. Attendees were nominated by supply chain executives.
AHRMM initiated The Award for Excellence in Healthcare Supply Chain Innovation, sponsored by Cardinal Health, was awarded to Gundersen Lutheran of La Crosse, Wisconsin, for the submission titled: Improving & Managing the Sterilization Process Through the Use of Surgical Instrument Management Software and Lean.
AHRMM joined forces with two other personal membership groups of the American Hospital Association (ASHE – engineers, and AHE – environmental services, formerly ASHES) to develop a web portal that will serve as a roadmap to sustainability for healthcare operations-focused professionals in hospitals.
2011 - AHRMM announces Geisinger Health System in Danville, Pa. as the winner of the 2011 Award for Healthcare Supply Chain Innovation, sponsored by Cardinal Health. The winning submission was titled: "Supply Chain Services to Care Support Services – An Innovative Strategic Model".
AHRMM released Elevating the Supply Chain Profession and Futurecast Report, a thought-provoking report on the broad range of strategic issues and challenges confronting today’s supply chain executives. The Elevating the Supply Chain Profession and Futurecast Report provides a summary of findings from the 2011 National Executive Survey on Supply Chain, conducted by AHRMM, Jamie C. Kowalski Consulting, LLC, and the Marquette University College of Business Administration, the Center for Supply Chain Management, as well as the results of a poll conducted during the event.