June is National Safety Month and while you should always be safety conscious, we felt this was a great opportunity to highlight a lesser known safety topic – medication adherence! Whether you’re supporting your employees or managing your own health, medication adherence is a critical component.
Medication Adherence is An Important Safety Factor in Managing Chronic Conditions
Every year there are more than 125,000 pre-mature deaths due to medication non-adherence in the U.S.Many people are non-adherent because they don’t remember to take their medication or they can’t afford their medication, so they don’t take their medication without realizing the health and safety risks that can occur. Encouraging better safety medication practices improves overall health and reduces total health care costs..
More than 145 million Americans suffer from chronic conditions. Most chronic conditions are managed through medications prescribed by doctors and many times patients don’t understand the importance of taking a medication as prescribed. However, for some it can mean additional health problems when adherence is not followed.. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) estimated that non-adherence caused 30-50 percent of chronic disease treatment failures2 and those who stopped treatment were likely to experience more problems.
Tips for Medication Management:
Take medication at the same time every day.
Include your medication with a daily routine. (i.e brushing your teeth or getting ready for bed) Before choosing a mealtime for your routine, check if your medication should be taken on a full or empty stomach. Also, check if your medication should be taken in the AM or PM
Keep a “medicine calendar” with your medication and note each time you take or miss a dose.
Use a pill container. Some have sections for multiple doses at different times, such as morning, lunch, evening, and even weeks.
When travelling, be certain to bring enough of your medication, plus a few days extra, in case your return is delayed. Always travel with medication in your carry on, incase of lost luggage and temperature regulations.
Have questions regarding your medication?
Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate Program offers one-on-one, private consultations with a Tria Health Pharmacist. Your pharmacist will work with you and your doctor(s) to ensure the intended outcomes from your medications are being received.
Call the Tria Help Desk with any questions at 1.888.799.8742
According to a RAND corporation study, people who are depressed are less likely to adhere to medications for their chronic health problems than people who are not depressed. Researchers found that patients with depression had 76% greater odds of being non-adherent with their medications compared to those without depression.1 This is a concern since not only do people with chronic illnesses routinely face higher death rates when they have poor medication adherence, the rate of depression itself has been increasing significantly over the years. In the U.S., depression increased from 6.6 percent to 7.3 percent from 2005 to 2015.2
What can Doctors and Providers do?
Dr. Walid F. Gellad, the study’s senior author and a natural scientist a RAND, recommended that “doctors and other providers should periodically ask patients with depression about medication adherence. Also, when treating a patient who is not taking their medication correctly, they should consider the possibility that depression is contributing to the problem.”
How can you help a Friend or Family Member with Depression?
It’s important to learn the symptoms of depression and that they can vary from person to person. You can find a list of symptoms and support recommendations provided by the mayo clinic here. Once you recognize it, the next steps are to:
Talk to the person
Explain that depression is a medical condition
Suggest seeking help from a professional
Offer to help prepare a list of questions to discuss in an initial appointment
Express your willingness to help
If you or someone you know is struggling, call the Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255) at any time for help.
Columbia University’s Mailman School of Public Health. “Depression is on the rise in the US, especially among young teens.” ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 30 October 2017. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2017/10/171030134631.htm>.
Central Exchange kicked off its 6 part Health Care Catalyst Series last week featuring consumer strategies related to having a healthy business. The presentation was led by Brent Walker, Chief Marketing Officer of C2B Solutions. Walker spent 20 years working for Proctor & Gamble prior to starting C2B Solutions.
The presentation focused on the importance of understanding psychographic segmentation in the health care consumer. C2B Solutions conducted a study that included a sample of 4,878 patients who completed a survey with 384 questions/attributes.
The study identified 5 different patient profiles:
Balance Seekers (18%) – This group is proactive and wellness-oriented. They are open to many ideas, sources of information and treatment options when it comes to their healthcare.
Willful Endurers (27%) – The highest population, this group takes a “don’t fix it if it’s not broken” approach to their health.
Priority Jugglers (18%) – These individuals are busy taking care of others and are motivated by family verses by self.
Self-Achievers (24%) – Highly motivated, this group focuses on future plans and is the most proactive when it comes to their wellness. They are task oriented and prefer to be given measurable goals.
Direction Takers (13%) – The smallest population, these individuals like direction from providers and take it.
The varying differences in the patient profiles emphasize the need to communicate important health care messages differently. Traditionally, clinicians have been taught to speak to every patient as “direction takers.” With an increased focus on patient outcomes, clinicians need to learn how to better communicate with patients so they take an active role in their health care based on the different profiles. The benefit of the one-on-one counseling provided by Tria Health is our clinicians get an understanding of who the patient is and what motivates their medication behavior.
On May 2nd, The Food and Drug Administration (FDA) released a report regarding the use of daily aspirin to prevent a heart attack and stroke. The FDA’s findings may drastically alter how the health care industry utilizes daily aspirin therapy.
Background: A number of patients take a daily aspirin due to the belief that it reduces their risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
“Primary Prevention” – Refers to patients with diabetes, family history of heart disease, high blood pressure and high cholesterol who have an increased risk of heart attacks and stroke and use aspirin as prevention (before either of these events occur).
“Secondary Prevention” – Refers to the use of daily aspirin therapy for patients who have had a heart attack, stroke, or having known coronary artery disease. Secondary prevention use of aspirin has well established benefits and significantly reduces the chance of a second heart attack or stroke.
The FDA has reviewed new data regarding aspirin use for primary prevention and concluded that there is insufficient evidence at this time to support routine use of daily aspirin therapy in these patients.
What does this mean for you?
If you have not had a heart attack, stroke, or have known coronary heart disease and you take a daily aspirin, talk to your physician about the need for continued use of aspirin and weigh the risk versus benefit of prolonged aspirin therapy.
Antibiotic resistance occurs when bacteria are capable of resisting the effects of
antibiotics. This can occur for many reasons for example, taking antibiotics when you do not have an infection caused by bacteria or not taking antibiotics as prescribed by your doctor.
Many common infections like the common cold, most sore throats and the flu are actually caused by viruses. Antibiotics are only effective against infections caused by bacteria and cannot kill viruses. Overuse and overprescribing of antibiotics has markedly increased bacterial resistance in recent years. We all normally have bacteria that live on and in our bodies. The more antibiotics we take the more likely these bacteria are to become resistant to antibiotics and potentially cause infection.
Some common signs that you may have an infection caused by bacteria and you should contact your physician include:
Fever higher than 100 °F
Symptoms that last more than 7-10 days
Symptoms that are not relived by over the counter medications
What can you do to prevent antibiotic resistance?
If prescribed antibiotics make sure to take the full course of antibiotics and follow the prescription directions
Don’t always assume that an antibiotic will be the answer to your cold and flu symptoms
(Written by Tria Health Pharmacy Student Intern Jessica McClain, UMKC School of Pharmacy)