The Michigan company helping people with ADHD
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich., September 5, 2022 (CRAIN’S DETROIT BUSINESS) – In September 2018, Zachariah Booker and Dr. Randall Duthler co-founded Grandville-based ADHD Online LLC, which offers online diagnosis for those who think they may have attention deficit hyperactivity disorder — and follow-up treatment for those who do.
Booker, the company CEO, says it’s more than just a business for him and for Duthler, the chief in-novation medical officer and a physician with Spectrum Health. It’s a mission. Booker says he was diagnosed with ADHD when he was 17 and knows how hard it can be. Duthler was also diagnosed with ADHD.
The two spent two years beta testing their extensive online as- assessment tool, then began fundraising to support the company’s growth. They raised a round of $2 million last year and have raised $2 million this year of what they hope to be a round of at least $5 million.
The business has grown sharply in the last year. When the company moved to Grandville, just southwest of Grand Rapids, from a small office in Hudsonville a year ago, it had seven employees. Today it has 50 and has already opened a second office in Grandville.
As of the end of August, the company says 88,091 people have taken its online assessment in all 50 states and 147 contractors provide follow-on health care services. About 33,000 of those assessed were referred to health care providers and 24,509 of those remain in treatment.
People who complete the assessment, which has 250 questions and takes about 90 minutes to finish, are not obligated to undergo treatment with ADHD Online’s medical contractors but can use their own physicians.
Keith Brophy, the chief operating officer, said the company has been cash flow-positive from the start. He said the company had revenue of $9.8 million in 2021 with projections this year of $22.8 million and next year of $42 million. “It’s rare to have an early-stage business that has that kind of soaring revenue,” he said.
Booker said what ADHD Online offers is much cheaper than a traditional evaluation and has a much quicker path toward diagnosis and treatment. In the past, someone looking to get an assessment might have to make an appointment months out with a doctor to test to see if they have ADHD, then try to get on the calendar of another doctor to treat them and prescribe medications.
The process can take six months and cost $2,000, he said. Within three days of ADHD’s online assessment, a doctor determines if ADHD is the proper diagnosis. If it is, an appointment can be made within another three or four days with one of the company’s health care providers, who are physicians, nurse practitioners, or doctoral-level psychologists.
The cost of the assessment is $149. Treatment sessions are $199 for the first half-hour session and $99 for follow-up sessions. Monthly sessions are usually required at first, with the goal to get to a session every three months.
ADHD Online does not bill insurance companies but said many health care plans reimburse patients for their costs.
Booker said COVID helped drive the company’s success as people became more comfortable with telehealth and other virtual services. And COVID-related stresses exacerbated symptoms for some people with undiagnosed ADHD — leading some of them to finally try to get a handle on their mental health.
“ADHD Online is led by an experienced and well-balanced team with clinical and entrepreneurial skills,” said Jeff Wesley, executive director of both Red Cedar Ventures and Michigan Rise, two investment arms of the MSU Foundation. “We have felt from day one this is a winning combination for the team to bring the company’s disruptive solution to market. The company has seen tremendous growth and is helping an underdiagnosed and very high impact area of need.”
Michigan Rise and Red Cedar Ventures invested in ADHD Online in April 2021. Red Cedar invested again in July.
The Grand Rapids-based Michigan Capital Network has invested in ADHD Online twice, in April last year and this July.
“What we really love about ADHD’s model and management team is their devotion to patient care,” said Meagan Malm, a venture capital associate with the MCN. “ADHD will even identify comorbidities like depression and anxiety and recommend the appropriate avenues for those treatments as well. They do this all for close to a quarter of the price and roughly 30 times faster than the standard in-person method.”
Detroit-based Invest Michigan is also an investor.
“ADHD Online has established itself as the industry leader in the ADHD telehealth space,” said Charlie Moret, Invest Michigan’s president, and CEO. “The fact that they have been able to grow rapidly without sacrificing their quality of care is a testament to their leadership and execution in building out an impressive network of physicians capable of delivering quality care.”
Dr. Ken Schroeter is one of those doctors. Based in Chester, N.H., he was an independent contractor, treating patients with addiction problems via telemedicine for Better Life Partners of Dartmouth,
N.H. Looking for other telemedicine options, he came across ADHD Online on Indeed.com a little more than a year ago, filled out an application, and was hired as an independent contractor last September.
“A lot of doctors leave medicine because they don’t like the job,” he said. “I really like this. I can reach patients who can’t otherwise ac- cess health care. I was worried at first that ADHD Online would be a one-trick pony, but there are a wide variety of therapeutic strategies depending on the patient. I get patients coming to me in tears saying, ‘This is life-changing.’”
He said most of his patients are well into adulthood and most are women. Some can be treated with non-stimulants, though most patients are treated with stimulants such as Ritalin, Dexedrine, and Adderall.
According to the company, 62 percent of its customers are women 18-49.
Schroeter said many of his patients have known something was wrong for years but perhaps were discouraged from seeking treatment by parents or spouses. “Patients tell me, ‘For the first time, I feel heard,’” he said.
Kate Breck of Greene, Maine, isn’t one of Schroeter’s patients, but she fits his model of a woman who was well into adulthood be- fore she was diagnosed, and she is ecstatic at the results she’s seen. She found ADHD Online two months ago when an ad for the company popped up on her Face- book feed. She clicked on it, read some reviews, and decided to take the online assessment.
She was then referred to a nurse practitioner.
“I thought it was normal to not be able to concentrate, to keep putting things off,” said Breck, who is 35. “I’d had it on a back burner for a long time to do something about it, but I couldn’t do that anymore.”
After her first session with the nurse practitioner, she was put on a stimulant.
“It was the biggest change. It was night and day,” she said. “I thought, ‘This is how people are supposed to feel.’ I can get things done. This is life-changing. I was shocked, to say the least. I wish I would have known it would be this easy.”
She has had two sessions, and her third monthly session is coming up. Of the session fee of $99, she said: “It is definitely worth it.”
Cara 45, is a manager of internal communications for a major corporation. She, too, had a history of coping with ongoing distractedness before finding ADHD Online.
“There’s so many of us, especially women, who just deal with the things that come our way. You think you’re just supposed to deal with it,” she said.
She found ADHD Online about four months ago. After her assessment, she was referred to a doctor in her area and began monthly online sessions with him, getting a prescription for a stimulant after the first session. “The doctor and I to- tally clicked. We had to adjust my dose, it was tricky getting to the perfect place and we’re still working on it. But the medication has allowed me to have a focus and work on things undistractedly.”
— Kate Breck, ADHD Online patient
Cara has a session every three months, now, and said she considers the $99 per session charge a bargain. “Thank God I did this. It changed my life. It profoundly helped me.”
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