Hani Kayyali of CleveMed – 10 Best CEOs of 2022 – Industry Era

Mar 14, 2023

“Prioritize projects and resource allocation to meet surge in demand”


Cleveland Medical Devices Inc., or CleveMed, provides portable sleep disorder testing services and devices. Owing to the fact, Hani Kayyali, president and CEO of CleveMed, explains that their prediction that sleep disorder evaluation would move from hospitals to homes has become a reality. Over 400 healthcare organizations—from single-provider practices to national health systems—use them.

Hani gives credit for his entrepreneurial journey to his father, who himself was an entrepreneur. Hani became CEO after about 10 years as a program manager. He joined CleveMed to make a difference by commercializing its unique research and intellectual property. Selecting the right research areas for commercialization was the first hurdle. In his view, saying no to projects is equally as crucial as saying yes. They prioritized research initiatives based on market demands and Intellectual Property. After spinning off three enterprises, CleveMed concentrated on sleep disorders. It was a long but successful process. With its cloud-based monitoring and direct-to-patient logistics, CleveMed is a leader in the home sleep apnea testing (HSAT) industry. They have completed over 300,000 home sleep studies, grown at double-digit rates, and received over 20 new patents.

Leaders develop by helping employees succeed, not financial growth, as said by Hani. He believes leaders should mentor employees to advance their careers. Being curious about employees’ lives and interests can offer new and relevant perspectives that draw people closer. According to Hani, listening is very important, Steve Covey most eloquently summarized it in his widely read book, “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”: “Seek first to understand, then to be understood.” This is especially true when your team provides valuable feedback. In addition, Hani holds regular townhall gatherings at CleveMed to provide company updates and exchange ideas.

They also have other weekly meetings with standing agendas that provide more staff input and often call impromptu gatherings to make decisions right there and then. Their agility and rapid decision-making are advantages. If a decision turns out to be bad, they quickly move to correct it. They don’t have committees that meet frequently to evaluate lengthy reports, but their team’s cross-training and industry expertise ensure that their decisions are quick and sound.

Leaders, especially of small businesses, can easily believe that success is “around the corner” and advancement will be rapid, as per Hani. The result is often overpromising and underdelivering. In his view, leaders must remember that some markets, like healthcare, are slow due to often-opposing stakeholder influences from insurance carriers, to providers, to administrators, and regulatory organizations. Corporations themselves move slowly, too. As best described in the saying, “If you want to go fast, go alone; if you want to go far, go together,” Successful firms, especially those with high performing teams, have their own dynamics and methods that must be respected, so leaders must have patience, he suggests. Hani also believes leaders should associate with successful, talented people. Besides, self-care is critical for the development of leaders. Late in his career, Hani discovered that caring for others requires self-care. It’s hard to take time off work, but a leader must find one or two non-work activities to help them recharge each week, he adds.

Hani is demanding and has big objectives. However, he acknowledges that measures are not the end goal; what matters is the path one travels. “Excellence in Customer Service” is their company goal. Excellence in anything, let alone customer service, is very difficult, but it helps to keep that aim in mind when talking to patients or supporting their healthcare providers. For Hani, missing targets is fine if they’re on the right track. One target he often enjoys evaluating patient satisfaction. To that end, he often works in the packages incoming area to take a first peek at patient satisfaction surveys. They also send surveys to customers in order to recruit input and identify pain points and opportunities for improvement.

Like other firms, their people are their greatest asset. COVID-19 accelerated their direct-to-home logistics services. Demand roughly tripled in six months, requiring urgent capacity growth. They were lucky to have a team that updated social distancing and disinfection procedures, created unique employee schedules, ramped up production, and expanded workspace. They were fortunate to be near large Cleveland, Ohio, universities with smart, eager students which accelerated hiring. This unanticipated demand was met after several months of teamwork. He worked with them side by side, not to necessarily inspire, but to help. Hani stresses that their success is due to their high-performance attitude, not him. He cannot describe how fortunate it is to work with them. Without their passion, CleveMed would not have achieved this level of success. They are extremely talented, devoted, and kind to their co-workers and customers. They have gone through thick and thin times together, and he is grateful to them!

Hani believes they will be increasingly involved in sleep care. Their technology assesses therapeutic efficacy using follow-up home sleep studies, and hence one project that builds on their existing technology is to expand their long-term monitoring solutions. Their great team and strong intellectual property, including cloud-based longitudinal patient care technology, support their objectives. He is quite optimistic about their promising future! IE