Many HTM professionals made the trek to Texas in June to join what could be framed as a 50th birthday party. This golden anniversary celebration included a rich early history that is somewhat of an unknown to many. This underlying early history’s significance is that it provided the foundation for what today we call Healthcare Technology Management (HTM). Fifty years ago, visionaries of that time gave birth to what we know as the Association for the Advancement of Medical Instrumentation (AAMI). Where pioneers Robert Hall and Robert Allen thought this conceptual consortium could or would progress to is probably a question only they can answer. However, I would like to believe their greatest expectations may have been exceeded many times over these past 50 years!
Looking back upon those earlier years, medical electronics or medical instrumentation (as it was formally termed), presented a dramatic challenge to hospitals as new-era technology and instrumentation was rapidly being introduced. Many white papers in those early years were beginning to surface and circulate bringing an awareness to medical instrumentation. One white paper written in 1969 by Argo Scientific Corp. President John Abele spoke in defining detail and, in my interpretation, identified the key pillars and vision that formalized the technological structure, business model and the contributing patient care impact this “new” supporting medical equipment service sector would look and act like.
As those early cornerstoned principles matured, it enabled consistent progression and innovation. AAMI quickly became recognized as a subject matter expert organization by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) and the U.S Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Soon thereafter, the drive by AAMI continued onward and upward including a merger with the International Certification Commission (ICC) in which established the CBET, CLES and CRES credentialing process of HTM professionals.
When one looks at the linear timeline and the many milestones of the medical instrumentation industry landing on the health care industry shore in the 1960s, and its progression to the present day HTM landscape, a great sense of appreciation and accomplishment is felt. Take some time to research the archives of our Medical Instrumentation/HTM history. This evolving profession of over 30,000+ technicians and engineers has a very storied and progressive journey that has only just begun!
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