Telecommuting Tips & Tricks

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Since the COVID-19 outbreak more people are working from home than ever and for many of us this is all new. It’s drastically different than going into the office but by using your resources and communication work will go on and you may end up being more productive than ever. Here are some tips and trick to improve productivity and encourage growth throughout this time:

  1. Create a designated workspace: Establishing a physical difference between work and home life will help keep you connected to each but not overlap one another.  If you are not able to have a designated office room it’s important to create the make-shift office somewhere you don’t spend a lot of personal time (i.e., living room, kitchen, bedroom), or else it can be hard to distinguish work time versus personal time. Although your work is in the home now, they are still contrasting elements that need to be treated as so in order to stay efficient. 
  2. Avoid being stuck in the same chair all day: Remember all those times you would get up from your desk to ask a question or grab something? Well since everything is virtual now it’s easy to get stuck behind that screen. Don’t forget you can take the dogs for a walk, check the mail, or take a call outside, just try your best not to get cabin fever. Creating a plan to get yourself moving throughout the day can boost productivity and allow for new routines.
  3. Overcommunicate with everyone: Working remotely is a new thing for most people so don’t feel like you’re asking a dumb question. Since verbal communication plays such a large role in the office atmosphere it’s hard to transition from popping your head over the cubicle or walking down the hall when asking a question to sending an email. It’s also important to note that most people will be working their normal hours so it can even easier to just give them a call or use Zoom.
  4. Create a routine for before, during, and after work: Accountability can be very hard during this time so creating a routine during the weekdays can prove to be effective, especially if you have others in the house with schedules. Although you are not going into the office it can be helpful to change into ‘work clothes,’ whether that’s a new pair of sweatpants, or an outfit that boosts your confidence it can help give the feeling of work and increase performance. With a routine it’s important to block off time to handle things that may be distracting to you and/or your work (i.e. kids and homework schedules, etc.). Get to know yourself during this time and how you work, don’t be afraid to recognize what distracts you and how to boost your own productivity.
  5. Take advantage of this time at home: This may be the only time you get to work from home so throw that load of laundry in at lunch. Eat lunch with your quarantine crew while you have the chance and don’t forget to wash your hands!

If you have a chronic condition, these changes may be having a larger impact on you and staying healthy now is more important than ever. While the transition from the office to home may seem simple, you need to establish a routine to ensure you’re effectively managing your health. If you have any questions related to your condition management or medications, call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742. Tria Health is a no cost benefit provided through select health plans.

Working From Home

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Making the Switch

As those with the ability to work from home have probably learned, it’s a lot different than going into the office. Although production and availability can increase, separating work from home can get more complicated. If you don’t use available resources early, it can only get worse. Those working from home for the first time have probably noticed how much verbal communication plays a role in the office and how productivity works throughout the week. Asking a question by peeping your head over the cubicle or walking down the hall is no longer that simple. It can be if you stay up to date on communication software and available technology your employers employ. But just having them downloaded to your computer and phone doesn’t solve all communication problems. Doing a quick Google search about the program can give you articles, tutorials, and videos to help improve your work-flow ability. Transitioning to working from home can be difficult and takes time to understand your schedule while managing all the other distractions around you at home.

Physical Health

Now more than ever it is essential to listen to your body and keep up with or even start those healthy routines. Just because you’re in the comfort of your home doesn’t make anything simpler, it can sometimes make things more complicated. All those times you walk around to ask questions, pick a paper up off the printer, grab a snack from the kitchen or get up to move in general you’re not doing anymore while being stuck behind that screen. It’s easy to get busy so don’t forget to move around throughout the day. Adding some sunshine will even help boost your mood and productivity. Taking some time at your desk to stretch and re-group in between meetings or projects can help create a transition too.

Mental Health

Monitoring your mental health during this time is just as important as physical health. Everyone has had to make drastic changes to their everyday life and its crucial to recognize those and work through the struggles that can arise. For those prone to anxiety and depression it’s important to recognize your feelings and work through them in ways that have worked in the past, such as reading, staying connected or even remote therapy.1 Being aware of your mood and behavior throughout this time will be valuable to your working from home experience. Always be mindful and reach out to the appropriate people if necessary.

Tips & Tricks

  1. Create a designated workspace to ensure the separation of work and home.
  2. Avoid being stuck in the same chair all day. Take the dogs for a walk, check the mail, or take a call outside, just try your best not to get cabin fever.
  3. Overcommunicate with everyone and never feel like you’re asking a ‘dumb’ question.
  4. Create a routine for before, during, and after work to hold yourself accountable.
  5. Block off time to handle things that may be distracting to you and/or your work (i.e. kids and homework schedules, etc.)
  6. Take advantage of this time at home. This may be the only time you get to work from home so throw that load of laundry in at lunch. Eat lunch with your quarantine crew while you have the chance.

Do what’s best for you!

If you have a chronic condition, these changes may be having a bigger impact on you and staying healthy is more important than ever. While the transition from the office to home may seem simple, you need to establish a routine to ensure you’re effectively managing your health. If you have any questions related to your condition management or medications, call the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742. Tria Health is a no cost benefit provided through select health plans.

Sources:

  1. https://www.fastcompany.com/90479504/how-to-maintain-your-mental-health-while-working-from-home

The Benefits of Telemedicine

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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 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