Know your Pharmacist, Know your Medicine!

As American Pharmacists Month, October is a great time to remember why your pharmacist is a key player in the health care system and how they can help you.

Pharmacists are Medication Experts
Pharmacists are trained on a wide variety of different disease states, but our specialty focuses on the medications used to treat those disease states within your body. We understand how medications work and can identify medication interactions and problems, including those involving non-prescription medications.

Pharmacists = Very Accessible Health Care Providers
Pharmacists are often available when other health care providers are not, and most often do not require you to schedule an appointment to ask questions about your healthcare needs.

Pharmacists Provide Much More than Medication Dispensing
Aside from dispensing medications, pharmacists can provide excellent counselling services about all medications (including herbal supplements) and a variety of different health conditions. Pharmacists play a major role in monitoring or managing several chronic conditions, such as asthma, diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, weight loss, and tobacco use. In fact, it has been proven that patients have better overall health outcomes if a pharmacist is involved on their healthcare team.

Pharmacists Help Ensure Your Meds are Safe, Appropriate & Effective
Pharmacists can look at all of your prescription medications as a whole to determine if they are safe, appropriate and effective in managing your health conditions. Your Pharmacist may also be able to assess if you’re taking medications you no longer need, if you have therapy duplication, if you’re missing certain medication that is proven to help your specific conditions, or if you’re taking something that could potentially be harmful to your health. The pharmacist can also suggest alternative drug options to lessen side effects, or reduce your drug costs.

Pharmacists can provide guidance for managing your overall health and navigating today’s ever-changing health care system. Talk to your pharmacist today and see how they can help you! For information about Tria Health, visit www.triahealth.com.

Driving Patients to Take an Active Role in Their Health Care

Katherine Meiners
Katherine Meiners, Director of Marketing & Communications

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:

  1. 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.
  2. Willful Endurers (27%) – The highest population, this group takes a “don’t fix it if it’s not broken” approach to their health.
  3. Priority Jugglers (18%) – These individuals are busy taking care of others and are motivated by family verses by self.
  4. 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.
  5. 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.

Find out what kind of patient you are by visiting C2Bsolutions.com.

Written by Katherine Meiners, Director of Marketing & Communications at Tria Health

Do You Take an Aspirin a Day?

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 Update:
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.

Commit to Quit!

There are significant health benefits associated with quitting tobacco. Within one year of kicking the habit an individual’s risk of coronary heart disease will cut in half. What’s the magic solution to help you quit successfully?

Studies have shown:

  1. The use of approved medications for tobacco cessation doubles the likelihood of successfully quitting.
  2. The effects of medications used for tobacco cessation increase substantially when paired with behavioral intervention.

There are three FDA-approved drugs for smoking cessation: nicotine replacement therapy (gum, patch, lozenge, nasal spray, inhaler), bupropion, and Chantix. Read facts about each of these below.

Nicotine Replacement Therapy (NRT):
•  Use of NRT products approximately doubles quit rates
•  Available in many forms to fit your preferences and lifestyle
•  The patch, gum and lozenge are available over-the-counter
•  The nasal spray and inhaler are prescription only

Bupropion SR (Zyban):
•  Prescription only
•  Also an antidepressant; might be beneficial for individuals with depression

Chantix:
•  Prescription only, expensive if not covered
•  Decent success rate when taken as prescribed and well tolerated
•  Has more intolerable side effects than the other agents available

It’s important to consult your physician and/or pharmacist to help you determine the best medication option for you.

Tria’s Savvy Consumer Tip: Whooping Cough Vaccination

Recent reports of whooping cough outbreaks in Wisconsin and Texas have highlighted the importance of proper vaccination schedules.  Whooping cough is a highly contagious disease that can cause serious illness in babies, especially in those who are too young to start their vaccination series.  The best way to protect babies against whooping cough is to ensure all persons in contact with baby have been recently vaccinated.

Vaccination Guidelines by Demographic

Pregnant Women:

The Centers for Disease Control recommend that pregnant women receive a one-time dose of Tdap, the whooping cough vaccine, between the 27th and 36th week of EACH pregnancy.

Children and Adults:

For other children and adults, a one-time dose of Tdap is recommended for most people 11 years and older.  A repeat vaccination is only necessary for pregnant women.

Newborns:

The current recommendation is for a total of 5 doses of DTaP, one at 2 months, 4 months, 6 months, 15-18 months, and 4-6 years.

Keep you and your family safe by ensuring you all are whooping cough vaccinated.