A View From the Top: Dr. Mark Alfonso of LucidHealth

February 10, 2020

The interview below is part of a new series from McGuireWoods that features interviews with C-suite leadership of private equity-backed portfolio companies. To recommend a leader for a future interview, email Holly Buckley at [email protected].

Mark AlfonsoQ: Why is medical leadership important in a radiology company?

Dr. Mark Alfonso: Leading a large physician organization requires a deep understanding of how to achieve true patient-centered care. LucidHealth provides clinical leadership in creating a quality care path with subspecialized radiologists reading designated studies in a timely manner, regardless of hospital size or location. We created a prioritized system of care based on when each patient presents that allows for record turnaround time across all locations. This care is delivered by specialists with advanced training in all areas of radiology. Timely treatment by uniquely trained radiologists is a critical value of LucidHealth’s care delivery.

Radiology is typically where the patient’s diagnosis begins. Being physician-led has created an infrastructure focused on tracking outcomes and studying data that provides value to us as radiologists, to our hospital partners and, most importantly, delivery of high-quality care to best meet the needs of patients. Understanding disease processes and creating systems of care requires medical leadership focused on the patient on an ongoing and consistent basis with defined measurement and a passion for best-in-class care. LucidHealth has strong physician leadership focused on creating this progressive care delivery model. It is this leadership perspective that differentiates the care we provide throughout the Midwest.

Q: Is it important for a physician leader to concurrently actively practice medicine?

MA: To effectively lead a radiology organization, you need to be in the midst of the care delivery to comprehend the impact of new advances in medicine and develop new models of enhanced care delivery. Radiology is changing rapidly. We have integrated artificial intelligence (AI) into our workflow to identify methods to create immediate action when abnormalities first present and provide advanced tracking of disease progression. These are revolutionary to radiology, and we have more integrations on the horizon. Understanding the application of these methods within the care model requires a deep medical intellect.

The next challenge is taking these new methods to radiologists across LucidHealth to the care sites. As a physician-led organization, LucidHealth established a Physician Executive Council (PEC) comprised of physician leaders across our states who provide clinical guidance throughout all LucidHealth practices. We also created a specialty connection where physicians across the enterprise connect through various means to discuss protocols and clinical guidelines to create state-of-the-art care delivery and focus on new procedures. While keeping the primary focus on the patient, our physician leaders are involved in many committees, serving in leadership roles on hospital boards and medical staffs, and providing clinical guidance across care sites. Physician leadership is a hallmark of LucidHealth.

Q: How does a large, consolidated practice translate to improved clinical outcomes?

MA: While LucidHealth values the support and infrastructure that accompanies the consolidated practice model, our physicians have been selective in partnering with like-minded groups that share the same passion for clinical integration. The benefits of our innovative technology, AI and data analytic tools enable LucidHealth practices to track patient processes and provide meaningful reporting to support hospitals and health systems. This infrastructure provides a valuable resource for operating in a value-based environment.

The power of a vast number of physicians focused on innovative patient care is transformative and what drives LucidHealth. Aligning the strategic and operational objectives around population health management, clinical decision support and advanced interventional services requires collaboration on common goals and performance. There needs to be a common culture among the radiologists to drive this change and improve outcomes. Combining forward-thinking practices accentuates the ability to lead the industry in technology and infrastructure, and to share clinical and operational best practices in order to focus on building a sustainable leader in the industry.

Q: What healthcare trend will cause the most change in the next 10 years?

MA: As AI continues to be at the forefront of radiology, LucidHealth has already clinically integrated intelligent algorithms into practice and used deep learning to guide our processes for years. AI will remain the frontrunner for years to come; however, machine learning cannot replace the personal subspecialized interpretation of complex imaging studies. AI allows for faster initiation of patient care and provides intelligent analytics of specific disease processes. Combined with our RadAssist workflow’s superior interoperability, we are able to integrate next-generation automated capabilities and track each patient’s need for follow-up. RadAssist has currently integrated seven algorithms.

It is apparent that AI will define a new healthcare landscape. The benefits of AI are enormous. Keeping focused on this trend as well as the advancements in imaging technology continues to guide our future planning. In the end, the power of the radiologist caring for the patient will be enhanced by these advancements and we want to be in a meaningful role in advancing our care to our patients. As always, payor and governmental trends drive change but often lose true focus on the patients. Radiologists must advocate for patients. Advancing these care models is that focus that drives LucidHealth.

About Dr. Mark Alfonso

Mark Alfonso, MD, serves on the board of LucidHealth as chief medical officer (CMO). He is an accomplished radiologist in practice for more than 22 years specializing in body imaging radiology. Dr. Alfonso received his medical degree from Northeastern Ohio University College of Medicine, completed his residency at Creighton University Medical Center and earned a fellowship in body imaging from the University of Louisville. He served as president of Riverside Radiology and Interventional Associates for 15 years and led the development of Premier Imaging Ventures: a number of business entities supporting the radiology practice. His visionary leadership has created a proactive response to the technological advances of the organization in maintaining the focus as a patient-centered practice. As CMO for LucidHealth, Dr. Alfonso leads the company’s Physician Executive Council and is a member of the practice integration group.

To contact Dr. Mark Alfonso, email [email protected].