Health Literacy

Managing chronic health conditions can be difficult when patients have low health literacy. Navigating and understanding a complex health care system is challenging. With the right training, health care professionals can communicate with patients more appropriately depending on their health literacy level.2

What is Health Literacy?

The CDC has defined Health literacy as:

  1. Personal health literacy: the degree to which individuals can find, understand and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.1
  2. Organizational health literacy: the degree to which organizations equitably enable individuals to find, understand and use information and services to inform health-related decisions and actions for themselves and others.1

Health literacy is simply your ability to understand information about your body and health.5 Based on these definitions, people and organizations can use their health literacy skills to improve the health of their communities.1

Low Health Literacy Factors

Low health literacy leads to communication barriers between patients and their healthcare providers. It also results in a variety of negative health outcomes for patients.4 A few factors that lead to low health literacy are:

  • Education4
  • Age: on average, adults aged 65 and older have lower health literacy than adults under 65.4
  • Poverty4
  • Access to resources such as technology5
  • Language5
  • Culture5
  • Having a health condition that requires complex self-care.5

Why Health Literacy is Important

Understanding health information and services affects your health outcomes. Your level of health literacy determines your ability to navigate through the healthcare system, utilize preventative services and share your personal information with healthcare providers.5 Furthermore, having good health literacy skills enables you to:

  • Understand the choices you have about treatments, doctors and other items related to your condition.5
  • Stick to your treatment plan.5
  • Answer questions about your health conditions.5
  • Decide which services and options are best for you.5

Steps to Improve Your Health Literacy

If you would like to improve your health literacy:

  1. Ask questions: Do not be afraid to ask your healthcare professional questions. Explain that you are having a hard time understanding, they will be happy to help.5
  2. Ask for handouts: Handouts or other materials are helpful at explaining complicated information.5
  3. Do not believe everything that you read on the internet: Not all medical information websites are reviewed by experts. A good way to check if a website is reputable is to make sure the information is reviewed, confirmed and supported by different organizations.5
  4. Repeat what your doctor tells you in your own words: This will give you an opportunity to clarify anything that you misunderstood or discover anything you misheard.5

Tria Health & Health Literacy:

Tria Health is a no cost benefit available through select members’ health plans. Tria Health’s Pharmacy Advocate Program offers one-on-one, private consultations with a Tria Health Pharmacist. During your consultation, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins and supplements. Tria Health will assist you in identifying any possible drug interactions or savings opportunities! Your pharmacist will work with you and your doctor(s) to ensure the intended outcomes from your medications are being received. Tria Health is here to help patients navigate their way through the multifaceted process of attaining care and properly utilizing their benefits. Our pharmacists take the time to make sure patients understand their conditions and how to effectively manage them.

Patient Success Story: Tria Triumph

Data does not lie; the real challenge lies when patients do not understand their data. Health literacy is key in this Tria Triumph.

A patient with diabetes had a consultation with one of our pharmacists. Her blood sugars were all over the place and she was feeling down. Our pharmacist uncovered that this patient was not taking her medications correctly and was also using an expired insulin pen. She did not completely understand her diagnosis, or the purpose of her medications.

Our pharmacist took the time to educate her on what diabetes is and how it affects her body. Additionally, our pharmacist recommended she talk with her doctor about an easier medication regimen.

Now this patient feels fantastic! Her doctor accepted the medication changes, and she is taking her medications as our pharmacist advised. Her blood sugar readings are excellent, and she feels better.

Because of the Tria Health program, this patient understands her diagnosis, knows how to effectively manage it and has the confidence to discuss outcomes with her providers.

Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. What Is Health Literacy? | Health Literacy | CDC
  2. Health Literacy | Official web site of the U.S. Health Resources & Services Administration (hrsa.gov)
  3. Health Literacy | National Institutes of Health (NIH)
  4. Health Literacy | Healthy People 2020
  5. Health Literacy: Why it’s Important and How to Improve it (breastcancer.org)

Move More Month

Image Source: Canva

Every April, the American Heart Association celebrates Move More Month to try and get people to improve their heart health through exercise.2 While the pandemic has disrupted many people’s exercise routines, there are still ways to stay active. Even small amounts of exercise can lead to significant health benefits.

Exercising Tips

The recommended amount of exercise a week is at least 150 minutes of moderate activity or 75 minutes of vigorous activity. 7 Here are some ways you can boost your activity level even with a busy schedule:

  • Walk and talk: If you are occupied with work calls, make it a habit to walk while you talk.7
  • Park further away: By parking farther away, you can get in those extra steps while avoiding parking stress.7
  • Take the stairs: This is a simple way you can get your heart rate up. Even if it is just a floor or two, every step counts!7
  • Try this 10-Minute Workout: You can do each exercise for about 30 seconds with 30 seconds of cardio between exercises.7

Overtime, any amount of exercise starts adding up. Did you know that:

  • 10 minutes of stretching is like walking the length of a football field.6
  • 2.5 hours of walking every week for a year is like walking the state of Wyoming.6
  • Dancing for an hour each week is like walking from Chicago to Indianapolis.6
  • 20 minutes of vacuuming is like walking a mile.6

Benefits of Exercising

A government study estimates that nearly 80 percent of adult Americans do not get the recommended amounts of exercise each week, potentially setting themselves up for years of health problems.3 There are countless reasons why exercising on a regular basis improves your health. Some benefits of exercising include:

  • Promotes better sleep
  • Combats against health conditions and diseases such as stroke, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, arthritis and heart disease.5
  • Improves mood
  • Increases your energy
  • Improves blood flow (circulation)
  • Boosts your levels of good cholesterol

Check with Your Doctor & Get Started Today!

Checking with your doctor before exercising is never a bad idea, depending on your condition(s) there could be some important precautions you need to take. They will also be able to provide recommendations with pain reduction and necessary dietary adjustments. If you feel nervous starting alone, you might want to consider a group exercise program. You might also find condition-specific programs at your local hospital or clinic.

Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. https://newsroom.heart.org/events/april-move-more-month
  2. Move More Month: Tips to stay active under quarantine | OSF HealthCare
  3. National Health Statistics Reports, Number 112, June 28, 2018 (cdc.gov)
  4. Move More Month: The Benefits of Moving and How to Get Going (sunshinebehavioralhealth.com)
  5. Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity – Mayo Clinic
  6. https://newsroom.heart.org/events/april-move-more-month
  7. No Time for Exercise? Here Are 7 Easy Ways to Move More! | American Heart Association

World Health Day

Image Source: Canva

Every year on the 7th of April, the World Health Organization (WHO) promotes physical, mental and emotional well-being all over the world.1

2021 World Health Day Theme

The World Health Organization highlights a theme every year for this day that is current in the wellness and medical world. The theme is highlighted in schools, seminars, workshops and discussion forums.1 This year, the new theme is ‘building a fairer, healthier world.’2 The WHO chose this slogan because some people have access to better health services than others. They would like to ensure that everyone has living and working conditions that are favorable to good health.2

How to Participate

If you would like to get involved in World Health Day, there are a few ways that you can participate:

  1. Organize a conversation in your community: The World Health Organization offers free informational toolkits for organizers.1 Discover more here: World Health Day 2021 (who.int)
  2. Learn about past year’s themes: By reviewing past themes, you may find and learn something relevant.1 Some past themes include:3
    • 2020: Support Nurses and Midwives
    • 2019: Universal Health Coverage: everyone, everywhere
    • 2017: Depression: Let’s talk
    • 2016: Halt the rise: beat diabetes
    • 2015: Food Safety
  3. Volunteer at your local charities and organizations.1
  4. Give thanks to medical workers.4
  5. Share important health topics on social media.4

Call to Action

According to the World Health Organization’s website, they are calling on leaders to monitor health inequities and ensure that all people have access to quality health services. They want leaders to:

  1. Work together: The WHO believes that when governments and communities work together, we can address the root causes of health inequities.2
  2. Collect reliable data: Through collecting timely health data that is broken down by gender, age, income, education and other characteristics, it is possible to see health inequities.2
  3. Tackle inequities2
  4. Act beyond borders: To strengthen national and international mechanisms as well as build community trust.2

Global Health by the Numbers

You can act against these statistics by spreading awareness about global health issues:4

  • Roughly 5 million people die every year due to low-quality health care.4
  • A child dies from malaria every two minutes.4
  • 100 million people around the world survive on $1.90 or less per day.4
  • 10.2 million people in America suffer from mental health and addiction disorders.1

Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. World Health Day (nationaltoday.com)
  2. World Health Day 2021 (who.int)
  3. World Health Day 2021: Date, Theme, History And Significance | POPxo
  4. World Health Day 2021 | Public Holiday Guide

American Diabetes Association Alert Day

Image Source: Canva

American Diabetes Association Alert Day is observed annually on the fourth Tuesday in March. This day is dedicated to spreading awareness of type 2 diabetes and encouraging people to take the ADA risk test.1

Understand Your Risk

An important part of today is learning about the risk factors of diabetes. Being aware of your risk factors can help you take the right steps to improve your health. Take the American Diabetes Risk Test here: Risk Test | ADA (diabetes.org) This test asks questions about weight, age, family history and other potential risks for type 2 diabetes.2

Common risks include:

  • Being over the age of 451
  • Having a family history of diabetes1
  • Not being physically active1
  • High blood pressure4
  • Abnormal cholesterol levels4

Type 2 Diabetes Prevention

Lower your risk for type 2 diabetes by implementing these lifestyle choices:

  • Eating healthier: choose foods higher in fiber and lower in fat (fruits, vegetables, whole grains).5
  • Physical activity: aerobic activity such as swimming, running, or a fast walk for about 150 or more minutes a week.5
  • Weight loss: If you have prediabetes, losing 7-10% of your body weight can reduce the risk of diabetes.5
  • Stop Smoking

Type 2 Diabetes Statistics

Type 2 diabetes is the most common form of diabetes. According to the CDC. Type 2 diabetes accounts for about 90-95% of all diagnosed cases of diabetes in adults.6 Other key facts about diabetes include:

  • Diabetes affects about 34.2 million Americans.1
  • Nearly 1 in 5 adults living with diabetes, or 7.3 million Americans do not know that they have the disease.1
  • About 88 million people that are 18 years or older have prediabetes. Prediabetes happens when blood glucose levels are higher than normal, but not quite high enough to be diagnosed with diabetes.1
  • About 50% of women that have gestational diabetes, a type of diabetes that women develop when pregnant, end up developing type 2 diabetes.1

Tria Health & Diabetes Management

If you currently are diagnosed or have been recently diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes, Tria Health can assist you in managing your medications and finding a treatment plan that works for you. For select members, Tria Health also provides free diabetes testing supplies including a blood glucose meter, testing strips, and a mobile app designed to help you manage your diabetes better.

Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Help Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Sources:

  1. Diabetes Alert Day | NIDDK (nih.gov)
  2. Stop Diabetes:
  3. American Diabetes Association Alert Day | A Complete Guide (lifeweknow.com)
  4. Understand Your Risk for Diabetes | American Heart Association
  5. Type 2 diabetes – Symptoms and causes – Mayo Clinic
  6. Type 2 Diabetes Statistics and Facts (healthline.com)

Pharmacist Spotlight: Austin Morgan

We have an excellent clinical team at Tria Health. This month, we would like to spotlight Austin Morgan! 

Specialty: Austin’s specialty as a clinical pharmacist is in chronic condition management. More specifically, he specializes in diabetes management. He loves working with people that have diabetes to help them understand their condition. He learns about his patients’ goals and helps to define them. Austin supports his patients by giving them the steps they need to manage their diabetes. These steps include self-management with lifestyle and monitoring to helping optimize medications and maximize outcomes. He watched his grandfather struggle with complications from type 2 diabetes and managing his medications growing up, so patient care holds a personal place in his heart.

Favorite parts about working at Tria Health: Austin has many things he enjoys about working at Tria Health! To highlight a few, he likes to get to know his patients and work with them. Additionally, he enjoys the incredible team of clinicians and support staff. He appreciates being in an environment that encourages collaboration and learning to stay on the cutting edge of chronic condition management.

Career Goals: He has been fortunate to check off a couple of bigger career goals by accomplishing his Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist as well as Board Certified Ambulatory Care Pharmacist credentials over the last couple of years. His next career goal is simply to continue growing as a compassionate, patient-centered clinical pharmacist to provide great care for his patients. Furthermore, he oversees our 4th year pharmacy students on their rotation at Tria Health, so he is focusing on further developing his precepting and teaching skills.

Outside of work, Austin enjoys outdoor activities such as running, hiking, skiing and playing slow-pitch softball with his church’s team. Also, he loves spending time with his wife, travelling and experiencing new places, and playing with their 2 black labs.