The Benefits of Telemedicine

Image Source: Hal Gatewood/Unsplash

With the spread of COVID-19 on the rise, the need to social distance is especially necessary if you are considered high risk for severe illness. Since staying home is the only way to ensure you stay healthy telecommunication has never been more necessary and helpful. This pandemic has sparked a surge in telemedicine, telehealth and online resources to offer various health-related services remotely.1

How Can Telepharmacy Help?

Appropriately trained and equipped pharmacists can use telepharmacy to provide pharmaceutical care over the phone. With the use of telepharmacy, pharmacists can improve patient access to care, provide credible information and awareness (eg, hand hygiene, cough and sneeze etiquette, remind patients to get influenza vaccine), enable successful comprehensive medication management, provide recommendations for symptom management, and help triage and refer patients to higher levels of care when diagnostic testing is warranted.

Tria Health utilizes pharmacists to provide these services over the phone with success in outreaching to high risk patients, improving patient health and helping them find ways to reduce costs.

Patient Success with COVID-19

Tria Health provides chronic condition management, meaning many of our patients are at a higher risk for COVID-19, so Tria Health’s pharmacists have been actively educating engaged patients on risk factors, medication safety and prevention techniques. With Tria Health’s telephonic capabilities, we are actively engaging to ensure the health and wellness of our members. Take for example these two patient experiences:

A 64-year-old patient with heart failure could not afford one of their critical medications. As a result, they were going to their cardiologist office every 2-3 weeks to get samples. In the midst of COVID-19, these office visits were exposing the patient to unnecessary risk with frequent trips to their doctor. The Tria Health pharmacist was able to sign the patient up for a manufacturer coupon at an affordable copay. In addition, Tria Health had the prescription sent to a pharmacy with a drive through pick up to allow for appropriate social distancing for this high-risk individual.

A 43-year-old patient with asthma was extremely anxious about their underlying asthma and their risk for COVID-19. The patient informed their Tria Health pharmacist that they were worried about distinguishing their asthma symptoms from possible COVID-19 symptoms. The Tria Health pharmacist educated the patient about the difference in symptoms and how to monitor themselves. The pharmacist stressed the important components of hand hygiene and social distancing.  The patient was incredibly appreciative for this information and felt much less anxious with their improved knowledge.

Tria Health is providing additional communication and outreach to stress the importance of good health management and inform members that Tria’s pharmacists are a valuable and convenient resource during this current health crisis. Tria Health is committed to assisting members with any questions they may have about their medications, risk factors or ways they can mitigate their risk. 1.888.799.8742.

Sources:

  1. https://www.drugtopics.com/latest/telehealth-services-online-resources-aim-enhance-health-care-amid-covid-19-pandemic

COVID-19 and Ibuprofen (NSAIDs) Safety

Image Source: WHO

Unfortunately, with the spread of Coronavirus, the spread of misinformation has increased. It’s understandable to have anxiety with this current climate, but it’s also important to look to validated resources when searching for answers. One common claim we’ve seen spread as of late, is regarding the use of ibuprofen (NSAID) and having COVID-19.

Is It Dangerous to Take Ibuprofen to Treat COVID-19?

Both the World Health Organization and the FDA are currently unaware of existing evidence connecting the use of NSAIDS (Ibuprofen) with worsening COVID-19 symptoms. The FDA will continue to investigate the issue and report their findings when available.2 If patients are concerned, but require NSAIDs to manage their conditions, we recommend speaking with a health care provider and identify a possible alternative.2 While NSAIDs are not reported to worsen COVID-19 symptoms, it’s important to note that they do reduce inflammation and fever, which may diminish the utility of diagnostic signs in detecting infections.  

What’s the Current Verdict? Overall, no direct recommendation for use of NSAIDs for COVID-19 symptoms until more evidence becomes available.2

Tria Health’s Pharmacists can Answer Your Questions

Tria Health is a no cost benefit available through select members’ health plans. Tria Health’s pharmacists are here to talk with patients about their risk factors for COVID-19 and ways they can mitigate risk. We are here to support all our members in their time of need. If you have any medication or COVID-19 related questions, please call our help desk at 1.888.799.874

Sources:

  1. https://www.facebook.com/WHO/posts/2993742374004459
  2. https://www.fda.gov/drugs/drug-safety-and-availability/fda-advises-patients-use-non-steroidal-anti-inflammatory-drugs-nsaids-covid-19

COVID-19 Precautions for the High-Risk

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For those categorized as high-risk of contracting COVID-19, it’s important to take all precautions when staying healthy and getting prepared. Those with higher risk of getting very sick from COVID-19 are, older adults 65+, pregnant women, and people with pre-existing medical conditions (i.e. diabetes, cancer, heart, respiratory and cardiovascular disease, immunodeficiency, etc.).1

Take Action

To reduce the risk of contracting illness, take precautions such as stocking up on supplies, staying home if you can, and most importantly practice social distancing. Some supplies to keep in the household are, enough groceries to last you a few weeks, cleaning supplies, personal care products and extra medications (contact your healthcare provider to discuss options). Preventative actions such as washing hands with soap for at least 20 seconds, avoid touching facial areas, especially nose eyes and mouth, don’t shake hands and avoid non-essential travel. If COVID-19 reaches your community consider new ways to distance yourself between other people, such as having food and grocery items delivered instead of leaving the house.1

Remember not to overstock and deplete resources from your surrounding community. Take only what you really need.

Have a Plan

If you fall under the high-risk category, it is important to have a plan if you contract COVID-19. First, consulting with your health care provider is the most important. Make sure to have an idea of where to go and what to do if you start showing symptoms. Also stay in touch with friends, family, and neighbors in case you need to ask for help. If you start showing symptoms, stay home and call your doctor, they will help take care of you and determine whether you can begin recovering from home or need emergency help.2 Seek medical attention immediately if you show any of the symptoms in the box below. With the spread of COVID-19 happening quickly its important to stay updated on your community news and take extra precautions if it reaches your area, especially if you are high-risk. Unfortunately, we know that having a chronic health condition can increase a patient’s risk. We are here to support all our members in their time of need. Tria Health’s pharmacists are here to talk with patients about their risk factors and ways they can mitigate risk. Members, please know you can call our help desk at 1.888.799.874.

Image Source: CDC.gov

The President’s Coronavirus Guidelines for America: 15 Days to Slow the Spread

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/get-ready.html

COVID-19: The Important Details

Image Source: CDC/Unsplash

What is COVID 19?

COVID-19, better known as the coronavirus, is a respiratory disease that was first detected in China and has now spread to more than 100 regions internationally, including the United States. The virus itself is called the “SARS-CoV-2” and the disease is called “coronavirus disease 19” (abbreviated “COVID-19”)1. Symptoms can occur 2-14 days after exposure and include fever, cough, and shortness of breath. The reported illnesses have seen mild symptoms to severe illness and even death has been confirmed. Since symptoms can vary per patient it is important to consult your medical provider if any immediate changes happen regarding your health.

Who is most at risk?

Based off early information released from China those at a higher risk include, older adults, pregnant women, people who have a serious chronic medical condition (i.e heart disease, diabetes, lung disease, immunodeficiency, etc.) and people living in a long-term care facility or nursing home.2

How is it spreading?

It is thought that the viruses main form of transmission is person-to-person, within 6-feet, through respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes and are inhaled into the lungs of the healthy person. The second possible way a person can get the coronavirus is by touching an infected surface then touching their eyes, nose, or mouth.3  To ensure the declining spread of coronavirus please practice social distancing, good hygiene, and avoid discretionary travel.

How can Tria Help?

Since Tria Health provides chronic condition management, many of our patients are at a higher risk for COVID-19, so our pharmacists have been actively educating engaged patients on risk factors and the importance of prevention techniques. For members that have not engaged with Tria Health, but are at a higher risk, Tria Health is providing additional communication and outreach to stress the importance of good health management and the fact that our pharmacists can be a valuable resource. And, as always, our help desk is available to all members. We are committed to assisting members with any questions they may have about their medications, risk factors or ways they can mitigate their risk.

Sources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/cases-updates/summary.html
  2. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/faq.html#basics
  3. https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/prepare/transmission.html?CDC_AA_refVal=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.cdc.gov%2Fcoronavirus%2F2019-ncov%2Fabout%2Ftransmission.html

National Wear Red Day

National Wear Red Day is February 7th. Go Red for Women is the American Heart Association’s national movement that advocates for more research and swifter action for women’s heart health. The movement also challenges people to know their risk for heart disease and act to reduce their personal risk. Heart disease and stroke cause 1 in 3 deaths among women each year, killing approximately one woman every 80 seconds.  Fortunately, we can change that because 80 percent of cardiac and stroke events may be prevented with education and action.

What are the Signs and Symptoms?1

While there are many similarities in the symptoms of heart disease in men and women, there are even more differences. Listed below are the signs and symptoms, specific to women, that are important to watch out for:

Heart Attack Symptoms:

  1. Uncomfortable pressure, squeezing, fullness or pain in the center of your chest. It lasts more than a few minutes or goes away and comes back.
  2. Pain or discomfort in one or both arms, the back, neck, jaw or stomach.
  3. Shortness of breath with or without chest discomfort.
  4. Other signs such as breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea or lightheadedness.
  5. As with men, women’s most common heart attack symptom is chest pain or discomfort. But women are somewhat more likely than men to experience some of the other common symptoms, particularly shortness of breath, nausea/vomiting and back or jaw pain.

Stroke Symptoms:

  1. Sudden numbness or weakness of the face, arm or leg, especially on one side of the body
  2. Sudden confusion, trouble speaking or understanding
  3. Sudden trouble seeing or blurred vision in one or both eyes
  4. Sudden trouble walking, dizziness, loss of balance or coordination
  5. Sudden severe headache with no known cause

Take Steps to Reduce Your Risk2

Not only can you wear red to raise awareness, but you can also take steps to reduce your own risk. The American Heart Association has developed an online tool called My Life Check. My Life Check allows you to find out your heart score and see if you’re at risk based on Life’s Simple 7:

  1. Managing your blood pressure
  2. Control your cholesterol
  3. Reduce your blood sugar
  4. Get active
  5. Eat better
  6. Lose weight
  7. Stop smoking

Find out Your Heart Score

Tria Health Helps Control Heart Disease

Tria Health offers Chronic Condition Management through our Pharmacy Advocate Program. Heart Disease and stroke are two of the many chronic conditions that Tria Health targets. Clinical Pharmacists provide one-on-one telephonic counseling for members and act as their personal advocate to help them navigate through the health care system. Through reviewing a member’s medications and lifestyle habits, Tria Pharmacists can make recommendations that will help control their chronic conditions and help them feel better!

Questions?

Call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/about-heart-disease-in-women/signs-and-symptoms-in-women
  2. https://www.goredforwomen.org/en/know-your-risk/risk-factors