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ASTM International is a voluntary standards development organization whose work covers 15 industries, ranging from energy to chemicals to medical devices. It is one of several organizations involved in the ongoing development of the Continuity of Care Record, a standard for the creation of electronic summaries of patient health.
The organization was founded by a group of scientists and engineers in suburban Philadelphia in 1898. Then known as the American Society for Testing and Materials, the organization focused its initial efforts on developing a standard for the steel used in railroad manufacturing. The group changed its name to ASTM International in 2001; it currently has more than 30,000 members from more than 120 countries.
As a voluntary organization, ASTM International has no role in requiring enforcement of or compliance with its standards. Moreover, the American National Standards Institute (ANSI) is recognized as the primary developer of technological standards in the United States. However, many municipal, state and federal governments in the U.S. and around the world, as well as corporate entities, abide by ASTM standards.