MATTER Member Profile: Jennifer Fried of ExplORer Surgical
Posted June 21 by Ornella Hernández
MATTER Journalism Resident
Medill School of Journalism, Class of 2016
There are hundreds of instruments in an operating room, but a typical surgery only uses about 10% of them. Before every procedure, an OR nurse receives a “preference card” with instructions on how to support that particular surgeon and assemble the right tools. These cards are static, have limited detail, and can’t be referenced real-time during the surgery itself – which frequently contributes to missing or incorrect items during a surgical case, disruptions, and delays while a patient is under anesthesia.
“Why am I able to pull up step-by-step directions on my phone of three different routes from MATTER to Evanston,” asks Jennifer Fried, CEO and co-founder of ExplORer Surgical, “but if I’m a nurse working with a surgeon for the first time, I don’t have that same type of instruction to understand what that surgeon needs?”
Jennifer’s background in consulting led to a desire to “uncover white space opportunities.” While attending the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, Jennifer met Dr. Alexander Langerman, a surgeon at the medical center there. At the time, Dr. Langerman was running a research lab on operating room efficiency and was collaborating with Dr. Marko Rojnica, a surgical resident, on methods to bring lean operational principles into surgery. “I had never even seen a surgery before,” said Jennifer. “But all of a sudden he’s telling me about inefficiencies in the OR. There was immediate ‘founder chemistry.’”
With a combined passion to disrupt surgical standards, the trio co-founded ExplORer Surgical. Their digital playbook includes step-by-step instructions for various cases and diagrams of equipment, all customizable according to surgeon preferences. Nurses call the innovation “GPS for the OR.”
Drs. Langerman and Rojnica continue to perform surgery every day, while Jennifer runs business operations. ExplORer Surgical is currently up and running at the University of Chicago Medical Center and SSM Health. Jennifer is focusing on raising a seed round, as well as on-boarding new team members. “Every day is different and exciting, bringing new challenges,” she says. The third version of their software will launch in market soon.