By Praveen Suthrum

The Scope Forward Show

No one in the medical field is free from the impact of COVID-19, including gastroenterologists. But the pandemic has only accelerated trends that started years ago. In this podcast, Praveen Suthrum interviews leaders in the gastroenterology space. Each episode will take you through different perspectives and help you ask the right questions. Praveen is the President of NextServices and author of Private Equity in Gastroenterology and Scope Forward (both Amazon #1 new releases).
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Episode# 30: Dr. Sravanthi Parasa: “When a phone can recognize my face, why can’t software recognize a polyp?”

Every so often an interview reminds me yet again that the future is coming at us faster — much faster. I’m still wrapping my head around what gastroenterologist and AI researcher Dr. Sravanthi Parasa told me: there would be a “1,000 algorithms” in 3 years in GI.

This is big implications for the business of gastroenterology. The AI will indeed operate and guide us like a self driving car. In such a world, how would your role evolve as the endoscopist? What would happen to all the PE valuations that are based on GI manual productivity? How would the workflow change when you combine liquid biopsy and AI? Would your practice prefer hiring an AI vs. an average endoscopist? What if the insurance mandates the use of AI?

Welcome to GI 2.0.

Episode# 29: Sam Holliday (CEO of Oshi Health): “My goal would be to cover all 50 states by the end of 2022.”

Two weeks ago, Oshi Health raised $23 million from well-known investors. It reinforces the fact that the landscape of gastroenterology is shifting toward digitization.

In this interview, Sam Holliday (CEO of Oshi Health) talks about their plans to scale across all 50 states by the end of 2022. They also plan to hire gastroenterologists and partner with GI practices. Learn about what’s attracting investor interest in digitization of gastroenterology.

Episode# 28: Dr. Aja McCutchen: “How can we be so under-represented and expect to make a big change?”

In a data driven world, it’ll become acutely obvious that our system is broken in terms of racial disparity. The drugs we have don’t work for all demographics. GI physician community is quite imbalanced in terms of race. Patients and future physicians will gravitate toward a more inclusive medical practice.

It’s already apparent that social determinants of health (SDH) influence health outcomes. Whether we recognize it or not, diversity and inclusion affects all of gastroenterology. It’ll affect the future of GI. It’ll affect private practice GI — for sure.

One of the most qualified people in our industry to understand this important topic is Dr. Aja McCutchen. She’s a Board Member of United Digestive and Chair of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at Digestive Health Physicians Association (DHPA).

In this interview, she shares her story – from the suburbs of Cleveland (“crazy Dave” drew her to medicine) to leading the field (GI has only 1% African American women). You’ll clearly understand the importance of paying attention to diversity and inclusion.

Episode# 27: PE Platform US Digestive: “There’s Still Tremendous Green Space Within GI”

US Digestive Health is one the eight private equity backed GI platforms in the country.

In this open-ended conversation, Dr. Mehul Lalani (VP, US Digestive), Gabriel Luft (Principal, Amulet Capital Partners), and Jerry Tillinger (CEO, US Digestive Health) talk about how the platform has evolved.

It was interesting to learn that from the PE platform’s  perspective there’s plenty of room to grow. We talked about whether PE in GI platforms would go public and how long they see the model to continue in  GI.

We went back and forth on a few points – especially on whether the company expects disruption from digital health.

Don’t miss this unique deep dive interview that brings together the GI physician, the CEO and the PE partner.

Episode# 26: CEO of Bold Health: “We seek to cover all GI conditions you might want to see a doctor for”

Elena Mustatea is the CEO and founder of Bold Health, a digital GI company that delivers digital therapeutics for the treatment of various GI conditions such as IBS. Their first app Zemedy is available in 190 countries. Now, they are hiring GIs and expanding in the US.

In 2018, Forbes listed Elena in a 30 under 30 list.

While private practice GIs are occupied with private equity, the world of digital health has been expanding. In Q1 2021, digital health attracted $9 billion in investments.

In this first-of-its-kind interview, learn more about Bold Health and the world of digital therapeutics, CBT, integrative medicine and the advent of digital health in GI. Elena talks about their business and operational models. She delves into getting paid by insurances.

Digital GI is a practical reality today. This train too is leaving the station.

Episode# 25: How to start clinical research as an ancillary in gastroenterology

Praveen Suthrum, President of NextServices interviews Dr. Narayanachar Murali (South Carolina), Dr. Don Lazas (ObjectiveGI, Tennessee) and Dr. Chris Fourment (CRSG and Precision Research, Texas). Learn how to start clinical research as an ancillary.

In this interview, you’ll learn three different perspectives on clinical trials/research as an ancillary in a GI practice. We’ll explore the pros/cons, costs, risks, and operating models.

Consider this interview as a primer on starting up with clinical trials/research. In the coming weeks, we’ll release more detailed interviews on the topic.

Episode# 24: Dr. Scott Ketover: “The future of GI remains bright”

Dr. Scott Ketover is the President and CEO of MNGI Digestive Health (previously Minnesota Gastroenterology). MNGI is one of the country’s largest independent GI practices.

In a world of private equity, MNGI has firmly decided to stay independent. Dr. Ketover shares why they don’t need to and what their growth strategy is. Our conversation explores many topics. Especially insightful are his views on how GIs must build programs for the entire GI tract and not just focus on endoscopies. He reflects on what he took away about the future during the pandemic.

Episode# 23: Author of VRx Dr. Brennan Spiegel: Virtual Reality in Gastroenterology

Dr. Brennan Spiegel is the author of VRx: How Virtual Therapeutics Will Revolutionize Medicine. He’s the Director of Health Services Research, Cedars-Sinai Health System.

This is a historic, one-of-a-kind interview. It lays out the digital future for GI from the lens of virtual reality (VR). Dr. Spiegel and his team have seen 3,000 patients via VR. The technology is no more new. FDA is approving solutions. Medicare is due to pay for VR. The challenge of private practice GI is to diversify from colonoscopy. Could VR be a new ancillary stream? Find out. Do not miss this one (35+ mins).

Episode# 22: AGA talk: What must you know when considering PE (8 factors, 4 risks)

Praveen Suthrum, President at NextServices recently presented at the AGA Virtual Town Hall (that was held in collaboration with the DHPA).

This is what you’ll take away from this talk:

1) State of PE in gastroenterology

2) How exactly does PE operate and make money?

3) The PPM debacle of the 1990s

4) The four forces influencing GI consolidation

5) 8 considerations and 4 risks

6) How to stay relevant independent of your decision

Episode# 21: Rock Rockett: “Yes, you can stay small and independent. But it’s a qualified yes.”

Rock Rockett is the Founder and Principal of Rockett Healthcare Strategies. Rock has been in the GI space for almost two decades now. As a business person, he saw GI physicians evolve.

In this interview, we explore the big question on many people’s minds: is it still possible to stay small and independent if you choose to?

Read the entire transcript of the interview here –

Episode# 20: Dr. Baig and Dr. Gialanella: “Shift will occur when there’s financial hardship. And it’ll occur pretty quickly as we see screening colonoscopy going down”

New Jersey-based Allied Digestive Health recently became the 8th private equity platform in gastroenterology. In this interview, Dr. Robert Gialanella, CEO/President and Dr. Nadeem Baig, Vice President of Allied Digestive Health talk about their journey – from being competitors to partners to choosing private equity and more. Learn about how they consolidated without private equity first, building the largest GI group in New Jersey. They talk about the “generational divide” between the senior and junior partners and reflected on how they tackled this situation at Allied. They also shared their views on consolidations, disruptions, and EBITDA assumptions. Finally, they laid out four trends as gastroenterology moves to the future.

Episode# 19: Gastrologix: “We create companies that physicians can have ownership in”

What if you could own companies you spend money on? What if you could save money on routine purchases by getting bulk rates? With those ideas, Christopher Metz and Stephen Somers founded Gastrologix, a Group Purchasing Organization (GPO). Gastrologix is the first GI-specific GPO that works with independent gastroenterologists. Today, they count 75 GI practices in their growing network.

Watch this interview to understand on-the-ground insights from a GI-specific GPO.

Episode# 18: Interview with Dr. Bergein F. Overholt

Dr. Bergein F. Overholt needs no introduction. He founded the Gastrointestinal Associates in Knoxville and led the group for four decades. He is also the past president of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy and American Association of Ambulatory Surgery Centers.

Dr. Overholt helped develop the flexible fibersigmoidoscope-colonscope, for which he earned many awards. In 1986, his efforts resulted in the establishment of the nation’s first GI single specialty Ambulatory Surgery Center. Dr. Overholt has also taught many of today’s GI practice leaders how to develop and manage their own GI-ASCs.

In this one-of-a-kind interview, Dr. Overholt walks us through his four-decade-long journey, reflects on the new technologies, private equity, and shares his views on alignment among physicians. And finally, he shares timely and relevant advice for gastroenterologists.

At a time when gastroenterology is at crossroads, Dr. Overholt says what needs to be said. Don’t miss the story of how the country’s first GI ASC started.

Episode# 17: Interview with Giovanni Di Napoli, President, Medtronic GI

Recently, Medtronic released a video showing how Pillcam (in partnership with Amazon) will enable home-based colonoscopy screening. Watch Giovanni Di Napoli, President of Medtronic GI sharing that vision.

Naturally, I was curious to find out more and interviewed Giovanni few days ago. In this interview, he walks us through how Pillcam and GI Genius will evolve in the coming years. GI Genius is already approved in Europe and helps endoscopists use AI in detecting polyps. Further, he reflects on whether he sees Cologuard as competition or not and if insurances would mandate payment on adenoma detection rate (ADR).

We also talked about how these developments will change the role of gastroenterologists. Do not miss this one (18+ mins) – get a glimpse into the near-future of GI.

Episode# 16: Interview with Dr. Ellen Scherl

Dr. Ellen Scherl is the Research Director and Founding Director of the Jill Roberts Center for Inflammatory Bowel Disease (IBD), Weill Cornell Medicine. Dr. Scherl has recently been honored with the Rosenthal Humanitarian Award from the Crohn’s and Colitis Foundation. Dr. Scherl is known nationally and internationally for her work in the field of IBD.

Episode# 15: Interview with Dr. Michael Weinstein (Part 2)

In the interview’s second part, Dr. Weinstein talks about how many aspects of the medical practice can be done remotely. He reflects on the future of GI post COVID, his experiences with the giants of gastroenterology (e.g. Dr. Gene Overholt, the father of endoscopy) and what must fellows in GI must focus on. More importantly, he deeply contemplates on social disparity in gastroenterology.

Episode# 14: Interview with Dr. Michael Weinstein (Part 1)

Praveen Suthrum, President, NextServices interviews Dr. Michael Weinstein, President & CEO of Capital Digestive Care and Past President, DHPA. Dr. Weinstein is also a member of the governing board at the AGA Institute.

Dr. Weinstein’s interview is loaded with so many insights that we will be releasing it in two parts. Each part deserves to be watched in full.

In this video, you’ll learn how Capital Digestive Care grew to be 60+ providers is a story that’s relevant to many groups looking to consolidate regionally. In 2018, they went on a strategy planning retreat to decide what they’d like to be in 2030. That led to the partnership with Physicians Endoscopy.

Dr. Weinstein outlines the benefits of their MSO to private GI practices and how it differs from private equity.

Episode# 13: Interview with GB Pratt, CEO of ModifyHealth

George “G.B.” Pratt is the Founder and CEO of ModifyHealth​. The company recently raised $2 million in Series A funding​ – right in the middle of the pandemic. As a “food as medicine” company, ModifyHealth provides fresh, Low-FODMAP and Gluten-free meals to patients suffering from GI conditions. GI practices partner with the company to benefit from a dietary ancillary. In this interview, you’ll learn more about ModifyHealth’s business model. A big question GB reflects on is whether ModifyHealth goes against the grain of today’s healthcare model.

Episode# 12: Interview with Dr. Partha Nandi (Pinnacle GI)

On November 30th, 2020, Troy Gastroenterology (Michigan) announced its partnership with H.I.G. Growth Partners to launch the seventh private equity platform in GI: Pinnacle GI Partners.

Dr. Partha Nandi is the President, Practice CEO and Executive Chair of the Board of the new platform. In this insightful interview, he shares why it’s still an early inning for private equity in gastroenterology, how they chose their PE partner and discusses challenges with EBITDA expectations. Listen to this exclusive deep dive into GI’s latest PE platform.

Episode# 11: Interview with Dr. John Allen

John Allen, M.D is the Chief Clinical Officer of the University of Michigan Medical Group and is also on the board of Allina Health. In 2019, AGA presented its highest honor, the Julius Friedenwald Medal for his contributions to gastroenterology. Previously, he was the chief of Digestive Diseases at Yale and helped build Minnesota Gastroenterology (now MNGI), one of the largest GI practices in the country.

This interview is so insightful that it’ll help you make several business and personal decisions for the long haul. Here’s specifically what you’ll take away:

1) What does it take lead calmly and steadily through a crisis? Especially a large health system

2) Planning for another pandemic (or another wave) should it occur

3) Fundamental shifts in GI and US healthcare economics that we are not yet recognizing

4) Weighing pros and cons of private equity

5) Future of gastroenterology – technology, consolidation, ethics and morals

Episode# 10: Interview with Dr. Prashant Krishnan

Dr. Prashant Krishnan is the Chief Medical Officer of Gastro Care Partners/Peak Gastroenterology Associates. In December 2019, Peak Gastroenterology partnered with Varsity Healthcare Partners to launch the sixth PE platform in GI. In this insightful interview, Dr. Krishnan reveals a core strategy (called YOU) that led to their explosive growth from 4 to 43 providers. That growth opened doors to private equity.

Episode# 9: Interview with Dr. Lawrence Kosinski

Dr. Lawrence Kosinski is the Founder and Chief Medical Officer at SonarMD. In this exclusive interview, Dr. Kosinski said what needs to be said. It’s an urgent wake-up call to the GI industry. The topics we cover range from starting up a GI-tech venture to private equity, valuation concerns and what in the end has value in life.

Episode# 8: Interview with Dr. Joe Rubinsztain

Joe Rubinsztain, M.D is the CEO and Co-Founder at ChronWell. The company provides technology-enabled solutions such as Chronic Care Management (CCM) and Remote Physiologic Monitoring (RPM). Previously, he was the President at gMed, which was acquired by Modernizing Medicine in 2015.

In this future-oriented interview, Dr. Rubinsztain walks us through how ChronWell works and their progress during COVID-19. He provides interesting insights into how technology will play a bigger but quieter role in the future.

Episode# 7: Interview with Scott Fraser

Scott Fraser is the Senior Healthcare Advisor, Private Equity at H.I.G Capital and Founder & Managing Director at Fraser Healthcare, a consulting practice focused on growth strategies for healthcare companies and private equity firms. He’s worked in the gastroenterology space for 25 years with companies like Given Imaging, EndoChoice and Boston Scientific. More recently, he was President of Practice Management for Physicians Endoscopy.

In this podcast, Scott delves into new ancillaries you could start right now. He talks about making a practice attractive for investment. And he reflects on the future of GI when present market forces accelerate.

Episode# 6: Interview with Dr. Latha Alaparthi

Praveen Suthrum, President of NextServices interviews Dr. Latha Alaparthi, PACT Gastroenterology Center and Vice President of DHPA.

In this interview, learn how a multispecialty GI group made a decision to ally with a regional hospital. Understand what steps PACT GCC took to navigate COVID-19 and what they are doing now to continue endoscopies safely. More importantly, Dr. Alaparthi reflected on how there could be more women in leadership positions in gastroenterology. And how physicians must take care of themselves first.

Episode# 5: Interview with Dr. Ashish Atreja

Praveen Suthrum, President, NextServices spoke to Dr. Ashish Atreja, the Chief Innovation Officer at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai. He’s a well-known keynote speaker in the field of digital medicine. Also, a board member of Rx.Health that released the Virtual Care Hub (with AGA) this week.

He called this a “watershed moment” for gastroenterology. This interview has so many insights that it deserves to be watched in full and a few times.

Please Like, Share and Follow our podcast to never miss out on such insightful interviews.

Episode# 4: Interview with Dr. Michael Dragutsky

Learn how Gastro One in Memphis, Tenn. partnered with Webster Equity Partners to create One GI, the latest PE platform in gastroenterology.

Praveen Suthrum, President of NextServices, spoke to Dr. Michael Dragutsky, Chairman of One GI, the latest private equity platform to take shape in gastroenterology. Memphis, Tenn. based Gastro One partnered with Webster Equity Partners to announce One GI earlier this week.

It’s possibly the ONLY medical practice deal to conclude during this crisis.

Episode# 3: Interview with Dr. Chris Fourment

Praveen Suthrum, President of NextServices and Author of Scope Forward interviews Dr. Chris Fourment, President/CEO of Clinical Research Strategy Group/Precision Research.

In this interview, you’ll learn why Dr. Fourment chose to focus on clinical research as a career path. Dr. Fourment also walks us through the various aspects involved in clinical research and how CRSG and Precision Research are helping GI physicians build a sustainable ancillary for their practice. He also reflects on the role of the future of clinical research in a digital world. Watch this insightful interview in full to learn what it takes to create a clinical trials ancillary in gastroenterology.

Episode# 2: Interview with Dr. Michael Byrne

Praveen Suthrum, President, NextServices interviews Dr. Michael Byrne, CEO & Founder of Satisfai Health, Founder of ai4gi. Learn about the progress of artificial intelligence in gastroenterology.

From this video you will understand where exactly AI is in gastroenterology. What must private practice gastroenterologists do now? What does the world of GI look like post-COVID? Stay on top of GI trends by watching this thought provoking interview in full.

Episode# 1: Interview with Dr. James Leavitt

Praveen Suthrum, President, NextServices interviews Dr. James Leavitt, President and Chief Clinical Officer, Gastro Health. Topics include changes at Gastro Health, telemedicine, private equity, future of gastroenterology, how do you make healthcare better, valuations of GI practices during COVID-19.

Private equity in gastroenterology began with Audax investing in Gastro Health back in 2016. Over the last few years, Gastro Health expanded to 250 providers and to other states like Alabama and Washington. This interview is insightful at so many levels. Watch it in full. Also, if you’ve always viewed private equity uni-dimensionally (that it’s all about the money), definitely watch the last segment. Dr. Leavitt talks about how passionate we all are about making healthcare better.

When you book a consult below, we’ll send a free tool to help you identify what level of performance your practice is at. From a Level 1 to 5 (low to high). During the call, we’ll identify what a possible growth strategy looks like.