Success story

Increasing Accessibility to Specialized Concussion Care

Northside Hospital Concussion Institute is advancing concussion care by providing specialized services to underserved communities through partnerships with local schools, mobile concussion care services, and telemedicine.

Northside Hospital Concussion Success Story

Northside Hospital Concussion Institute

Northside Hospital Sports Medicine Network’s dedicated concussion program consists of a multidisciplinary team highly-trained in the management, treatment, and rehabilitation of concussions. Having an in-house team of neuropsychologists, neurologists, athletic trainers, vestibular therapists, physical therapists, and education coordinators allows the patient to get comprehensive concussion care under one roof.

Headquarters: Duluth, Georgia
Industry: Sports Medicine & Rehab

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Northside Hospital Concussion Institute

Fort Smith Public Schools is a large school district in Arkansas that consists of 2 high schools and 4 junior highs with approximately 2500 student athletes in total.

Headquarters: Duluth, Georgia
Industry: Sports Medicine & Rehab

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David M. Schwartz, Ph.D., ABPdN
Chief of Clinical Services
Northside Hospital Concussion Institute

Prioritizing early access to care

Typically, getting seen by a specialist means waiting weeks before the next available appointment. Knowing that early intervention is critical to a faster concussion recovery, Northside Hospital Concussion Institute and its staff are dedicated to seeing patients as soon as possible - usually within 24 hours.

"The earlier we identify what recovery trajectories are in place the faster we can target very specific, prescriptive recovery protocols that assist us in helping these patients return to learn, return to play, and return to work, as fast as possible."

Choosing a concussion assessment tool

At Northside Hospital Concussion Institute’s inception they had a decision to make: What neurocognitive assessment tools would keep up with their mission to stay on the cutting-edge of concussion care and innovation?

They chose ImPACT Applications’ tools over competitors’ because they have the widest acceptance which provides a great deal of flexibility for patients moving from organization to organization. They felt confident that these tools would help guide clinical decisions and monitor patients as they progress through return to activity.

“We have used ImPACT Applications’ tools from the very beginning. They allow for the greatest flexibility, with the largest database and most acceptance across the board.”

Because concussion is such a complex injury, it requires highly specialized care that many rural communities did not have access to.

Northside Hospital Concussion Institute has put tremendous focus on servicing patients not only in their local community, but throughout the region. They have been successful in bringing their services to the community, when the community may not have convenient access to the clinic itself.

One example of this is they provide an athletic trainer to almost every school in the county to oversee the concussion protocol including baseline testing, sideline coverage, and concussion education. If an athlete gets a concussion, they are typically referred to Northside Hospital Concussion Institute for their follow up care.

They also have mobilized their services with the Concussion Care-A-Van. This is a mobile unit they drive to schools, sports games, and other events to provide concussion assessment and treatment including ImPACT and ImPACT Pediatric baseline testing to the community. In addition to baseline testing, they also use the Care-A-Van to offer concussion education to the community including athletes, families, and coaches.

NorthsideHopsital Conucssion Institute
Especially after the positive reception to their Care-A-Van services, Northside Hospital Concussion Institute saw the benefit of providing telemedicine to be able to further serve these underserved populations. However, they were met with some external resistance at first that halted their efforts. That is until a rapid global shift in healthcare occurred that made telemedicine a commodity rather than a luxury. Because their model already provided for community outreach and unique delivery channels for concussion care, it lent itself nicely to telemedicine and they were able to incorporate it quickly with minimal disruption. They took advantage of remote ImPACT post-injury testing using the Customer Center feature to easily assign patients a unique test link that’s automatically delivered by email.

Telemedicine is the future of concussion care.

Northside Hospital Concussion Institute envisions a hybrid concussion care model that incorporates elements of in-person and telemedicine services, working together to meet the needs of the patients. They believe telemedicine could be a primary channel for delivering concussion care services to low-acuity patients which would leave more room for more complex patients to get in-person care.

“A lot of healthcare providers who were hesitant about telehealth in the beginning are now very much onboard because they’ve realized that it’s more efficient.”

Ready to build best in class concussion care practice?