Dr. Randall Duthler and Zachariah Booker have been beta testing the online platform for the last 24 months. Courtesy ADHD Diagnosis Online
(As seen on WZZM TV 13) A local company has developed a tool to formally diagnose ADHD patients online.
ADHD Diagnosis Online has collaborated with psychologists and physicians from throughout the country to create the “first tool of its kind available online,” which can be completed for $149.
“The reason it was created was because patients in the area have difficulty getting access to mental health services, particularly evaluation for ADHD. The issue is with both cost, as well as accessibility,” said Dr. Randall Duthler, a local physician and co-founder of Grand Rapids-based ADHD Diagnosis Online.
Physicians manage and prescribe medications for ADHD, but patients are typically referred to a psychologist for diagnosis. Patients sometimes have to wait six months and spend up to $2,000 or more to be diagnosed, he said. That’s almost an entire school year lost for some children.
This can lead to prolonged untreated and undiagnosed ADHD in children and adults. Undiagnosed ADHD can result in poor academic performance, struggles in the workplace and difficulties socializing.
“That's just unacceptable,” Duthler said. “In this country, we should have access to the health care that patients need, and so this is a solution to that problem.”
Duthler said he sees many teens and young adults experimenting with illicit drugs or buying ADHD medication — Ritalin, Adderall and Vyvanse — on the street at a dose unsafe for them to self-medicate.
This online tool allows people to have a HIPPA-protected assessment by licensed psychologists at a “fraction of the cost and with immediate access.”
It’s a “smart assessment,” meaning the questions change based on answers given, said Zachariah Booker, investor, managing partner and co-founder of the company. The company was founded in March 2017, and the online platform has been in beta testing for the past 24 months.
“Through that, we've had an enormous amount of need that has arisen across the U.S.,” Booker said.
Duthler said some patients don’t want medication and do not want a diagnosis shared with doctors or insurance companies. Some just want to have the diagnosis so they can share it with their school or employer to receive accommodations, he said.
“I think a lot of patients take it just to know if that's what the issue is,” Duthler said.
Because the company does not work directly with insurance companies, ADHD Diagnosis Online is not required to submit information to any third party. However, the company will provide the necessary documentation to submit the cost to an insurance carrier for reimbursement.
Duthler said there are a large number of undiagnosed adults whose ADHD shows itself as they go through college or advance in the workplace.
He said there are many cases of patients with anxiety or depression who don’t realize that the root cause is undiagnosed ADHD.
“Patients who are struggling with ADHD often suffer from anxiety and depression as they feel their lives spiraling out of control,” he said.
The company said people with any one of the following symptoms should be tested: disorganization or incomplete work; lack of focus; poor attention to detail; forgetful in daily activities; distraction by noises or external stimuli; fidgeting or squirming in seat; difficulty awaiting one's turn; difficulty playing or working quietly; "on the go" as if driven by a motor; and excessive talking or interrupting.
In the workplace that could turn up as general disorganization, tardiness, missed deadlines, misplacing things, trouble with passive learning and having a lot of half-finished projects, he said.
Duthler wants to be clear that people with ADHD often have high IQs and can be very creative — they just think and learn a little differently.
“Many of them are entrepreneurs, and we see ADHD in a lot of successful entrepreneurs,” Duthler said.
He said employers can make accommodations such as providing a flexible work schedule and recognizing the need for a more structured work environment.
“If you allow someone with ADHD to have the right environment in which to work, there's a good chance they would be very highly productive assets in your company,” Duthler said.
Duthler also said diagnosed patients should consider their strengths and weaknesses when job searching and think about what they need to be successful.
If an employer works with a lot of creative people who show signs of ADHD, he said it may be a good idea for that employer to offer the test companywide. In that case, he said ADHD Diagnosis Online may be willing to work out a discounted group price.
“That may significantly increase the productivity of their company,” Duthler said.
The test is available at adhddiagnosis.com.