When Michael Kalthoff and Rudy Siegel created LDT Systems Inc. four years ago, they didn't realize that their ideas for programming GPS tracking devices would soon transfer into saving lives on a daily basis.

As the only two full-time employees in the firm's Cincinnati office, Kalthoff and Siegel began their company in the hopes of using hand-held devices such as cellular phones and Palm devices to track down wandering children for desperate parents. Now these two men and five other part-time employees work to increase the efficiency and timeliness of organ transplant services.

When the government developed an initiative to help develop technology for locating lost or injured people, LDT started with $600,000 from friends and family along with a desire to get the right people connected to each other. Unfortunately, the market and infrastructure were not adequate enough to support their Global Positioning System (GPS) program, so Kalthoff and Siegel decided to try a new route.

"In late 2001, we identified the markets that use GPS, and found that the organ transplant system was a rising one," CEO Kalthoff explains. "We felt that it seemed to be a pretty big need "” it was very much a life-and-death matter." On a recommendation by Ohio University students conducting a study, LDT Systems soon created the Organ Transplant Response System (OTRS) and sold its first in 2002 to Loma Linda Hospital in Southern California.

In a nutshell, the product is an Internet-based medical communications network that quickly links surgeons, donors, and recipients. Transplant personnel carry GPS units tracked by the network, so surgeons know where organs are during transit.

In early 2002, the first recipient through OTRS was a 4-month-old baby. In keeping with Cincinnati's love for baseball, all the people involved with the creation of the system signed a baseball with the company logo, and left the sweet spot open for the child. That spot is now covered by the infant's thumbprint and a signature from the surgeon who performed the operation.

Two years later, the company works with two big clients. OneLegacy, based in Los Angeles, is the largest organ procurement agency in the United States and covers about 17 million people and 225 donor hospitals, working with about 6 percent of all organs in the country. The second company is the Donor Network of Arizona in Phoenix, which covers about 8 percent of all donors in the United States. LifeCenter, a nonprofit agency in the Tristate, also works with LDT.

"LDT is exactly the kind of business we are looking for in Over-the-Rhine," notes Tom Besanceney, president of the Over-the-Rhine Chamber of Commerce. "The synergy between the Internet and businesses is quite dramatic."

Kalthoff describes the process of finding a donor and matching recipient as painstaking and lengthy. Completing forms, calling possible recipients, and finding a match can take 10 hours or more. "With our computer system and the Internet, we took the amount of time to place organs from 10 hours down to two hours."

On average, only three organs out of the seven possible for donation are actually placed. Kalthoff says his company's system "has helped increase that [average] number from three to 3.5 in L.A. We're saving 10 people per month, and if the program was used nationally, that would mean 2,000 people are saved a year."

As of this year, LDT has helped place 3,000 organs, and linked 850 more donors. ("LDT," once an acronym, no longer stands for anything.)

The company has recently implemented a new mobile device, the Treo 600, which allows donors, nurses, doctors, and procurement centers to connect to the Internet to immediately access needed information.

Siegel, the firm's president, emphasizes LDT System's goals now that it's on solid ground with product and mission. "The challenge now is to sell to the industry, but it's extremely slow," he explains. "More attention and resources are paid to the clinical side, vs. the administrative side. OTRS is a clinical information technology "” it's just starting to climb the adoption curve, but clients have proven its efficiency."