A weekly column profiling companies and personalities. This week:

Share story

What: Vuemed, Seattle

Who: Lana Makhanik, 35, vice president and founder

Mission: Provide a cost-effective way to track use of medical products and devices.

Keeping track: Hospital supplies are subject to a precise inventory, especially since medicines expire and sterility lasts for a limited time. Using the Vuemed system, a clinic knows when the time is up for these items and when they must be replaced or reordered. As it is a Web-based system, authorized clinicians can manage supplies online from anywhere.

Total recall: The system can also track the disposition of material that needs to be recalled. This is more thorough than a consumer-product recall, since it not only finds the lot number of any unused items but targets which patients have used any portion of the item.

Staying current: There are two good reasons to track expiration dates, according to Makhanik. “If there is an audit and they find expired items, there will be major accreditation problems,” she said. “And using expired or nonsterile materials puts patients at risk.”

Supply chain: In less-civilized times, expired medicine and supplies were sent to Third World countries. Makhanik said this is no longer done. Some of the supplies can be used in animal research, while most are thrown away. Vuemed’s system is designed to minimize waste, as clinics order supplies based on previous consumption levels.

Employees: Three full time, plus contractors.

Financials: The private company is looking to raise $1.5 million in financing and expects to become profitable this year.

Cost benefits: Makhanik said the system can increase efficiency and decrease clinic costs. “The high price of health care has become a major issue. The most exciting part for us is the ability to save a tremendous amount of money and pass that on to the patients.”

— Charles Bermant