Hammond lab designated as innovation center

2013-02-19T14:00:00Z 2013-02-19T17:00:21Z Hammond lab designated as innovation centerBy Vanessa Renderman vanessa.renderman@nwi.com, (219) 933-3244 nwitimes.com

HAMMOND | A Hammond laboratory has been designated a Siemens Microbiology Innovation Center and will serve as a reference site for other labs interested in what Siemens offers in microbiology testing.

Company officials from PCL Alverno, 2434 Interstate Plaza Drive, and Siemens joined lab workers in the microbiology area at Alverno for a ceremonial ribbon-cutting Tuesday morning. Alverno is a partnership of Franciscan Alliance and Presence Health.

At the heart of the innovation center are new equipment systems called Copan Walk-Away Specimen Processors, or WASPs, that will automate specimen processing at the lab.

Scientists at the lab process patient samples from 27 hospitals as well as clinics, doctor's offices and other medical facilities. They analyze about 2,000 plated cultures a day, said Jim Clark, microbiology department manager for Alverno.

The clinic offers more than 750 tests in clinical and anatomic pathology.

The automated WASP systems became operational on Monday, with the goal of increasing efficiency and accuracy, said Bernie Henry, vice president of human resources for Alverno.

Automating the process will cut the time it takes to identify what is making a person ill, he said.

It also will allow employees to spend their time on other, higher-value processes, said Annette Allaire, business manager for the U.S. Region of Siemens.

Alverno and Siemens Healthcare Diagnostics signed a multi-year expanded agreement, and Alverno became the first medical diagnostics lab in the country to offer Siemens' full range of advanced microbiology testing solutions, according to Siemens.

"We look forward to bringing other customers and prospects to this site in the future in order to showcase our broad, innovated microbiology portfolio and help them see how it directly benefits medical laboratories' operations and their efforts to deliver fast, accurate test results each and every time," Allaire said.

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