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Interview with AHRMM president Beverly Slate

by Loren Bonner, DOTmed News Online Editor | August 05, 2012
Beverly Slate
From the August 2012 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

HRMM’s current president sat down with DOTmed Business News to talk about the growth and diversity of health care supply chain from a field that once focused solely on purchasing to one that includes resource management.

DMBN: How did you become involved in health care?

Slate: I have planned on being in health care for as long as I can remember, starting as a medical assistant. Twenty years ago, I opened the door on a new profession – supply chain. It was a world I had never known existed. It didn’t take me long to realize there were many things I knew little or nothing about – ETO, par levels, tray assembly, case carts – just to name a few. It was an overwhelming world with huge penalties for a mistake. One error could seriously impact a patient’s health, perhaps even their life.

DMBN: Other than serving as AHRMM president this year, how long have you been a part of the association and in what capacity?

Slate: I have been a part of the association for more than 15 years. I started as a member of a local chapter in Iowa. I have been fortunate to participate on national committees and initiatives ranging from joint task forces for defining supply expense to single use device legislation. Prior to being elected as president, I was the AHRMM board representative for Region 4.

DMBN: What were some of your goals as president?

Slate: Member engagement and communication are key areas I feel passionately about. We have a structure in place that encourages our members to share their needs, thoughts and concerns. I want to assure that we have strong ties with chapters, committees and key external influencers. I also want to continue to develop tools that prepare our members for the future through education and forums, such as our national meeting.

DMBN: AHRMM is celebrating 50 years at this year’s conference in San Antonio, Texas. Tell us why this conference will be special.

Slate: This year’s conference will celebrate the past 50 years of AHRMM’s conference and look to the future for what new skills and technology may be needed for the next 50 years. We have many new things this year, for example, new in the exhibit hall, we have two pavilions dedicated to technology and new exhibitors and we are introducing six half hour learning presentations where select exhibitors can provide educational information inside the exhibit hall.

DMBN: How has the organization and supply chain grown in the past 50 years?

Slate: Fifty years ago, the focus of the profession was on purchasing. While purchasing is still part of the supply chain world, it is only one facet. As an association, we have grown from a purchasing association to a profession that focuses on resource management. Now, supply chain professionals cover a diverse number of roles.

DMBN: Could you highlight some of the most significant ways the roles of resource and materials managers have changed in recent years?

Slate: To me, the most significant change is in the scope of what supply chain encompasses. We have expanded beyond the traditional supply chain role that focuses on price and process to managing initiatives that incorporate quality, utilization and outcomes.

DMBN: What leaves you optimistic about the future of health care supply chain and materials management?

Slate: With increasing focus on payment structures and the potential changes from health care reform, supply chain is positioned to expand beyond the traditional four walls to become an integral part of the health care systems of tomorrow.

DMBN: How would you like to see the field advance even further?

Slate: I would like to see the field move to a more strategic focus with overall management of non salary resources within organizations.

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