When Northwest Neurology’s medical team needed a better, more objective and scientific method to assess their patients’ fitness to drive, DriveABLE provided an efficient, cost-effective, and reimbursable solution.
“When I [first] saw DriveABLE, I thought, ‘Here is a test that we can do in less than an hour…and we can make a much better decision about whether this person should or should not be driving.’”Dr. Robert Bashuk, MD
About Northwest Neurology
Founded in 1975 by Dr. Gary Kaplan, Northwest Neurology seeks to provide high quality neurological care for their patients within the state of Georgia. The eight-physician practice is made up of board-certified neurologists dedicated to treating disorders of the nervous system including Strokes, Epilepsy, Headaches, Dementias, Multiple Sclerosis, and Parkinson’s disease. The group’s neurologists serve as consultants to other physicians as well as provide long-term care to patients with chronic neurological disorders.
One of the most difficult decisions facing physicians today is how to deal with a patient with a medical condition and/or is taking medication(s), which may be affecting their cognitive ability to safely operate a motor vehicle. When a person becomes unsafe to drive it is clear that person must stop driving. The problem for physicians is knowing when to recommend that a patient retire from driving.
Dr. Robert Bashuk from Northwest Neurology had been approached by many family members concerned about their loved one’s driving and safety on the road. He wanted a more definitive way to assess patients. “I didn’t have any scientific basis for making a decision.” Like many physicians, Dr. Bashuk was left to make recommendations about driving cessation based on observation and experience. He would often recommend an on-road assessment but found that patient compliance to his recommendations was low for various reasons.
Dr. Bashuk knew he needed a better way to determine his patients’ safety on the road. After much research, he and his colleagues found DriveABLE. Northwest Neurology was the first neurology clinic in the area to implement DriveABLE testing. DriveABLE provides an easy-to-administer, in-office computerized assessment, to objectively and scientifically evaluate drivers at-risk due to any medical or neurological disorder. DriveABLE seeks to protect safe drivers from misidentification, based solely on their medical condition or age, and accurately identify unsafe drivers to protect them, their families and other road users.
“We did our homework… the rest is history. I fell in love with [DriveABLE] and we have literally tested over a thousand people in our area.”Dr. Robert Bashuk, MD
Patients at Northwest Neurology are seen for an initial consultation with a neurologist. After a DriveABLE Cognitive Assessment Tool (DCAT) is ordered, a certified technician meets with the patient to schedule the test and then administer the DCAT. Patients are seen for a follow-up appointment with the neurologist to discuss the results. A follow-up DCAT assessment may be recommended in 6 to 12 months’ time depending on the results and the circumstances of the patient’s medical condition. For the DCAT assessments alone, Northwest Neurology is billing approximately $10,100 per month based on approximately 30 assessments.
The Results – More than 1,100 patients tested
Northwest Neurology is a step ahead of their competition by being the first and only clinic in their area to implement DriveABLE. As a result of administering the DCAT, the number of referrals to the practice has increased from physicians within the referral area as well as new referrals from outside of the referral area. In addition, referrals have been received from private and academic neurologists across the entire metropolitan Atlanta area.
Objective and Unbiased
DriveABLE provides an unbiased and objective measure of the degree to which cognitive skills required for driving may have been compromised.
Results Inform Recommendations and Facilitate Discussion
DriveABLE test results provide Student Transit operations officers with the data to make informed decisions about driving cessation recommendations and facilitate the discussion with their bus drivers. Objective data dispels doubt.
Dr. Bashuk and his colleagues feel confident in DriveABLE as the results highly correlate with their own observations and experience. “The test results typically fit what I [feel] a patient should score” reports Dr. Bashuk.
DriveABLE test results provide Northwest Neurology physicians with the data to make informed decisions about driving cessation recommendations and facilitate the discussion with their patients. Objective data dispels doubt.
DriveABLE identifies the Medically At Risk Driver and dramatically reduces the potential danger to the driver, their passengers and other road users. Preventing accidents increases community safety and decreases medical expenses and health care costs overall.
In reviewing all of the assessments from Northwest Neurology, 30% of patients tested scored in the highest risk category for failure on a behind-the-wheel assessment.
Northwest Neurology had a patient in her 80’s whom was tested and advised she should stop driving based on the DCAT results. This patient ignored the recommendation and continued to drive. Approximately six months after her assessment she was involved in a minor fender-bender. She was taken to the emergency room and later tried to drive home. She ended up getting lost. Fortunately she was found by police who returned her home safely. Two days later, her family visited the clinic and said, “You were right. We should have taken her keys away.”