Concussion care coming to a clinic near you
By Harry Kerasidis, M.D.
With waves of attention on concussions right now, it’s hard to identify where the real trends may be developing. But after treating thousands of concussion patients in the last 25 years, and my recent efforts to provide a sensible solution for several markets, I’m sensing a long-term swell forming that may turn out to be a good ride for all involved.
In short, comprehensive concussion care will soon be available at a clinic near you, if not already.
I’m seeing a number of reasons for this. For example, concussion incidence rates are climbing. So, youth sports leagues and school organizations are assigned the task of establishing concussion-related procedures. States are now mandating minimum standards. So, while parents, coaches and league officials across the country try to figure out their concussion policies, suspected injured athletes are whisked off to emergency rooms, urgent care, sports medicine clinics or other clinic, where the healthcare providers more than likely are not specifically trained in concussion detection and treatments.
Concussion care is emerging as a new field of medicine, whether we like it or not.
Without an advanced concussion protocol or training, most clinics and primary care physicians will do a physical exam, ask how they’re feeling, but won’t be able to offer much guidance on how to recover and return to play. Many physicians are too busy and have many other diseases and conditions to treat, they don’t have time to keep up the latest concussion methods and information to help the decision to return to game plan, or return to learn.
The void of clinical-caliber concussion care is also seen among schools, who are implementing baseline testing with their athletes. However, we’re seeing the healthcare providers don’t know what to do with the data, nor is the data Emergency Health Record (EHR) compliant. When the patient arrives, most healthcare professionals will not know how to interpret the baseline test and post-injury test. A computerized tomography (CT) scan is ordered to rule out internal bleeding, but it will not detect concussions. Unless they are specifically trained, the attending physician or nurse won’t be able to provide a clear roadmap on how to return to normal activity or gameplay.
Then, the athletes need to receive medical clearance from healthcare providers who may not be aware of the latest in concussion care.
Recently I tested my theory about the trend — concussion care coming to clinics — with many of my colleagues.
Through a medical research firm, we found the methods and practice of applying concussion management varies widely between doctors and clinics. There’s no real standard of care applied.
Additionally, while attending the American Academy of Neurology recent annual conference, 64% of neurologists surveyed informally said they would like access to a concussion care, EHR-friendly toolkit like XLNTbrain Sport™.
By implementing a concussion care regimen at the health care and clinic level, like the one I use in my clinic, we can create a win-win-win situation for all parties involved. Consistent standards of clinical-caliber concussion care married with a business model that produces more revenue by meeting a felt demand.
The best part? Us and our future. Patients nationwide will have access to clinical-caliber concussion treatment protecting our minds for a wonderful life.
A New Wave is Coming
The double dose of demand among patients and the healthcare system has created a market opportunity for product or service that can be easily implemented in the field, yet be sophisticated enough to integrate with the clinic settings.
In my neurology clinic, I’ve developed a comprehensive protocol, XLNTbrain Sport™, which has allowed me to treat thousands of concussions, and add new patients for life. It’s a comprehensive concussion protocol wrapped in an online and mobile platform that seamlessly meets the need felt by the parents, athletes, schools, as well as the clinics and healthcare providers. I’ve made it available to thousands of athletes and athletic trainers through xlntbrain.com.
This online and mobile sports concussion service meets the demand for both the patient and healthcare provider, starting with proper education. Then, it provides all the tools the parents and healthcare providers need to effectively, efficiently return an athlete back normal activity and gameplay.
For the clinic, I’d recommend following through with all the steps in concussion care and take advantage of the insurance reimbursements available. Then, establish a network of specialists and neurologists in your area for additional care that may be necessary.
Proper, clinical care should include each of these steps:
- Baseline testing
- Sideline assessments
- Injury reporting, EHR-friendly, automated preferred
- Recovery protocol
- Symptom tracking
- Return-to-learn medical clearance
- Return-to-play medical clearance
Towson Sports Clinic recently adopted this approach, which is among many kinds of clinics this could be applied to, including:
- Sports medicine clinics
- Physical therapy clinics
- Urgent care
- Family practitioners
It may be early in the trend’s overall development. But with the speed this industry is moving, I can envision a day when we will have annual concussion exams, right along with our physical exams. This is one trend we should all be riding.
Harry Kerasidis, M.D. is a neurologist specializing in concussion detection, treatment and prevention. After 25 years treating thousands of concussions, Dr. Kerasidis noticed most people were using protocols, information and tools that were out of date, limited or incomplete. So he created his own, now called XLNTbrain (link is external) LLC, an online and mobile platform to provide everything necessary to help prevent, detect and protect student athletes from concussions.
Dr. Kerasidis also founded Chesapeake Neurology Associates, serves as Medical Director at Calvert Memorial Hospital for the Center for Neuroscience, the hospital’s Sleep Disorders Center and Stroke Center.
His new book, "Concussionology: Redefining Sports Concussion Management" comes out in September, 2015."