Starting from its birthplace at OhioHealth Riverside Methodist Hospital, PercuVision LLC has sold its visually guided catheter-placement system to 20 smaller community and rural hospitals in the two years since receiving federal approval to market the device.

As well as revamping the original product, the Columbus company is developing new versions for other medical procedures, such as inserting a feeding tube through the nose, that when done with only X-ray guidance often leads to injuries.

“We are providing light to common blind invasive procedures,” said Dr. Errol Singh, the Riverside urologist who invented the device.

“We started out small and we’re seeing significant growth,” he said.

Singh does not disclose revenue.

The company's DirectVision system embeds fiber optics inside a catheter, attaching to a camera system for use when the first attempt to insert a regular catheter ends by hitting an obstruction. Visually guided, the nurse or doctor can better navigate tortious anatomy.

In contrast, continuing to jam it through blind can result in infections or injury that requires surgical correction and drives up hospital expenses, some of which Medicare won't pay for.

PercuVision lowered its production costs since moving to the Columbus headquarters of investor EG Gilero, the medical device division of Columbus manufacturer Ernie Green Industries Inc., which provides expertise and resources to the startup. It has grown to 15 employees and is adding to its sales staff for nationwide and eventually international markets.

I included the company in a story in this week's print edition of Columbus Business First about the difficulty of establishing sales for innovative drugs and devices when hospital supply budgets aren't taking into account overall costs of a case.

"Urologists have been champions" of the product, Singh said, but consultants say the influence of physicians on supply budgets is waning.

OhioHealth Corp., which has an innovation office that helps physician-inventors get products to market, has been an exception to that rule, said Dr. Wayne Poll, a former Riverside urologist and CEO of another Columbus device maker, Minimally Invasive Devices Inc.