Tuesday, March 26, 2019 - Lab improves antibiotic safety for patients

Laboratory Technology Makes Antibiotic Care Safer for Patients

COVINGTON – St. Tammany Parish Hospital has added two new technologies to its microbiology laboratory that reduce the time needed to identify causes of blood stream infections, enabling caregivers to improve the appropriate use of antibiotics for patients in the hospital, reducing their time to heal.


“Polymerase Chain Reaction and Fluorescent In Situ Hybridization enable us in the lab to reduce the time to organism identification and subsequent antibiotic therapy to three-to-seven hours once the blood culture has become positive,” Pam Pound, laboratory department head, explained. “Prior to our introduction of these technologies, it could take 48 to 72 hours to identify the organism causing the infection and which antibiotic would be the most effective treatment.”


The hospital’s investment in technology enables the lab staff to more quickly provide the clinician the information needed to place the patient on appropriate treatment, thereby making antibiotic use more efficient and more accurate in the patient’s progress toward recovery, while also decreasing production of resistant organisms, sometimes called “superbugs.”


Reducing the time to treatment is exceedingly important in the case of patients with sepsis, a life-threatening condition. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), sepsis happens when an infection already present in a person triggers a chain reaction in their body. Without timely treatment, sepsis can rapidly lead to tissue damage, organ failure and death.




A full-service acute care facility committed to providing world-class healthcare and the latest technology, St. Tammany Parish Hospital delivers today’s life-improving procedures with the utmost care to area residents with emphasis on wellness, preventive care and disease management close to home. STPH is recognized for quality, safety and the patient experience by CareChex, Leapfrog, Healthgrades, Hospital Compare, Women’s Choice and US News & World Report. St. Tammany Parish Hospital is an independent service district in a clinically integrated partnership with Ochsner Health System. Together, the two organizations focus on aligning their healthcare offerings to best serve patients and families in west St. Tammany and surrounding areas. Under their agreement, the two organizations retain their autonomy; neither partner manages nor owns the other. STPH is a self-supporting not-for-profit community hospital; it receives no tax funding. Learn more at