PCL Alverno is changing the way microbiology is done in the United States, said Sam C. Terese, President and CEO of the Hammond-based laboratory. Thanks to new automated technology, this laboratory is able to identify organisms from 24 to 48 hours faster than conventional methods, he said. One of the largest integrated laboratories, PCL Alverno is jointly owned by hospital systems Franciscan Alliance and Presence Health. Over nearly two years, the laboratory that serves 2500 physicians and 27 hospital labs, has moved to the forefront of technology. “Because we are able to generate lab results significantly faster, we are able to get relevant information to physicians sooner so they can make quicker, more accurate diagnosis and more effectively target patient treatments.” He added, “Given that doctors use a substantial amount of laboratory information to treat and diagnose patients, there is an imperative today that Alverno continues to innovate.” A partnership initially with Siemens, which was later purchased by Beckman Coulter, resulted in multiple components of microbiology automation. First, the use of advanced robotics allows the manipulation of samples that assure both speed and consistency in results. A second component is “on line incubation” involving digital imaging in which cameras are checking plates for growth at much more frequent levels. Couple this with technology called MALDI-TOF, which identifies pathogens using lasers in seconds versus hours. In fact, the first clinical test in the U.S. using this suite of technology occurred at PCL Alverno. “This is a leap forward for health care,” Terese said.