Chiefy is a company that helps surgeons, anesthesiologists, nurses, and other surgical stakeholders seamlessly integrate quality best practices such as pre-op huddles, checklists, surgical protocols, debriefing, and feedback loops. Pulse 2.0 interviewed Chiefy co-founder and CEO Maya Ber-Lerner to learn more.
Maya Ber-Lerner’s Background
Before starting Chiefy, Ber-Lerner spent 15 years building and selling SaaS for automation and quality improvement in software development.
“It’s a very different industry, but all these years I was focused on helping cross-functional teams do more with less, standardize how they work, and balance speed with control. So when there was an opportunity to look at surgeries through a similar lens I was immediately curious,” said Ber-Lerner.
Formation Of Chiefy
How did the idea for Chiefy come together? “Chiefy started organically from a challenge in the field. I am married to Roee, who is a neurosurgery resident at NYU in his 7th year of residency. Before he started his surgical training he was a pilot and for 20 years aviation teamwork was second nature for him. When he started training in the operating room we had a lot of conversations at home about how communication needs to improve and how hard it was to orchestrate a big team for each surgery. He was very passionate about improving teamwork as a means of improving patient outcomes and reducing team frustration, and he wanted to run a study on his research year. I helped with a prototype for the study, and we also talked to Assaf, a childhood friend and brilliant product guy who just sold his B2C startup. We wanted his advice on making the prototype engaging for the clinicians. Long story short – the three of us ended up founding Chiefy,” Ber-Lerner noted.
Favorite Memory Working For Chiefy
What has been Ber-Lerner’s favorite memory working for Chiefy so far? “My favorite moments by far are when I meet clinician users and they give me examples of how Chiefy and digital huddles helped them avoid miscommunications and provide better care. It’s so powerful how critical team alignment is in healthcare. For example, when the surgeon communicates expected blood loss in the huddle in what would otherwise be a straightforward procedure, the entire team has a completely different mindset and knows what to expect when they get in the room. It’s one simple thing, but it may need to get to 12 different professionals in a very hectic environment. When you find a way to create a shared mental model it immediately affects outcomes,” Ber-Lerner reflected.
What are some of the challenges Ber-Lerner faced in building the company and has the current macroeconomic climate had any effect on the company? “Hospitals are definitely trying to cut down on costs. This is challenging for companies that build software for them, but it also creates an opportunity for those who help achieve better results in a more efficient and cost-effective way. I believe this is the time for cloud tools to shine. They can present a very cost-effective alternative that drives immediate results. In the current climate, this could be a game changer for hospitals that are short on resources,” Ber-Lerner acknowledged.
What are Chiefy’s core products and features? “Chiefy originally started by digitizing preoperative huddles. This is a well-known practice where the surgical team gets together before a surgical procedure and goes over the plan so everyone is aligned. There are hundreds of studies that show that preoperative huddles produce wonderful results, and it’s also very intuitive. For surgical teams, it’s difficult to do because the surgeons, nurses, anesthesiologists, and others have different schedules and they keep moving. So our hypothesis was that making huddles digital can help them – if we can use tech to make huddles asynchronous, faster, and orchestrated, teams can reap all the benefits without suffering,” Ber-Lerner explained.
Evolution Of Chiefy’s Technology
How has Chiefy’s technology evolved since launching? “It evolves continuously. We have been working with frontline clinician users since day one, and this is critical for getting the tech fully aligned with their needs. Getting the technology to give busy surgical teams the exact information they need, the right time, and the way they want to consume it. We invest a lot of engineering time on removing anything redundant that the clinicians shouldn’t be wasting their time on. One of the issues with clinician-facing software today is that it asks too many questions, and people get so tired that you miss the important stuff. We constantly ask – can we get rid of this? Does it really move the needle?” Ber-Lerner shared.
Most Significant Milestones
What have been some of Chiefy’s most significant milestones? “It’s a combination of academic results and commercial milestones. On one hand, we’re delighted to see great results in academic studies, and it’s critical in a community that is so driven by scientific evidence. But on the other hand – there is so much evidence that quality and communication best practice work, so being able to get a product to market and create a compelling business case is very meaningful to us,” Ber-Lerner pointed out.
In April, Chiefy had closed $4.2 million in seed funding led by LionBird, Nina Capital, and Emerge. “This is an incredible vote of confidence, coming from wonderful healthcare funds that have a deep understanding of healthcare challenges and Software as a Service,” Ber-Lerner affirmed.
Differentiation From The Competition
What differentiates Chiefy from its competition? ”Chiefy is unique in being a low-cost, low-risk cloud solution for hospitals and health systems to quickly implement and scale a secure, compliant collaboration platform to engage clinicians and improve care quality. It’s specific to surgical teams and their workflow, and we can start without EMR integration – so it gets immediate results – no need for multi-year projects and big upfront investment. This is digital transformation that doesn’t require breaking everything first,” Ber-Lerner revealed.
Future Company Goals
What are some of Chiefy’s future company goals? “We are passionate about communication and teamwork in healthcare, and we want to continue enabling alignment, clarity, and trust to solve healthcare challenges. As long as there are humans involved in healthcare, transforming healthcare will not be done by AI alone,” Ber-Lerner concluded.
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