Built at UChicago, Explorer Surgical Joins Global Healthcare Exchange Portfolio to Accelerate Core Mission

Explorer Surgical

A layout of a general operating room and Explorer Live’s integration with imaging devices, navigation systems, and minimal footprint in an operating room. (Image credit: Explorer Surgical)

Founded in 2015 by Booth School of Business alum, Jennifer Fried, MBA ’15, and former University of Chicago faculty member Dr. Alex Langerman, Explorer Surgical today announced that it has been acquired by Global Healthcare Exchange (GHX).

Explorer Surgical will continue operating in Chicago as a wholly-owned subsidiary of GHX, which automates key business processes and translates evidence-based analytics and data into meaningful action. The company’s goal is to help the healthcare ecosystem to move faster, operate more intelligently, and achieve greater outcomes.

“To succeed in value-based healthcare, organizations must democratize knowledge and data to create more efficient processes and better outcomes,” noted Bruce Johnson, president and CEO of GHX. “Patient care decisions must be grounded in data, product expertise, and procedural best practices because lives depend on it. Our combined organization will work to reduce unwarranted variation in healthcare and help the industry deliver on the promise of value-based care.

Explorer Surgical’s digital expertise in creating procedure playbooks as well as telementoring and performance tracking tools, combined with GHX’s cloud-based supply chain network and data and clinical evidence collection capabilities, will help providers and suppliers deliver better patient care.

“Healthcare is rife with inefficiency and must standardize the operational and clinical best practices and products that yield the best possible patient outcomes,” added Fried, who was recently named among the top 50 healthcare technology CEOs of 2021. “With GHX, Explorer Surgical is well-positioned to provide tremendous value to the healthcare supplier industry and providers by integrating our technology to improve the delivery of care. Combining our companies accelerates our core mission of using technology and data to enable all healthcare stakeholders to collaborate to improve outcomes in the most intensive of care settings.”

Built at UChicago

The concept for Explorer Surgical took second place in the Edward L. Kaplan, ’71, New Venture Challenge (NVC) and also has received funding from the UChicago Startup Investment Program. “We got destroyed in our pitch presentations,” Fried recalled in a podcast about her experience participating in the NVC.

“There is no better place to start and build a company than at The University of Chicago.”

– Jennifer Fried, MBA ’15, cofounder of Explorer Surgical

“The University’s interdisciplinary approach to innovation is the single reason that Explorer exists today. The University has supported us in every step of our journey, from our initial research funding to direct investments into every financing round,” added Fried, who will stay with the company in the role of general manager.

Fried, who left her “dream job” at a VC firm to run the company, revealed the sweat that went into finding the right investors, the challenge of making sales, and the hardest part of being the boss. Speaking with Steve Kaplan, her former Booth professor and cofounder of the NVC, Fried described how the company found a foothold by partnering with medical device reps and how the COVID-19 pandemic catapulted her business as hospitals sought ways to go virtual.

“I think 2020 was the inflection point for us,” said Fried, “where we went from, candidly, I think, a nice-to-have product that might’ve been a little bit ahead of its time to being a must-have product that the entire medical device industry needs and is looking for.”

>> Listen to the full episode on Apple, Spotify, Overcast, or wherever you get your podcasts.

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