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How Do I Know if the Medication is Working?


Photo by Alex Green

While some medications may seem to work right away, they often do not provide lasting relief. That's why regular follow-up visits are so important. By tracking how your symptoms change over time, you can determine whether or not a particular drug is working correctly.


Importance of a Care Plan

A care plan is a written record of the actions someone takes to manage their health. A care plan can be used to assess your health and set goals for improving it. When you start taking responsibility for your health, you'll see better results. You may also learn about new ways to treat yourself or others that you might not have known about before. Don't be afraid to ask questions about what you should do and why if something doesn't make sense.


The National Library of Medicine provides many benefits of having a care plan, here are just a couple:

  • Anticipatory rather than reactive discussions about patient care: The healthcare system is actively working towards improving patient care through increased awareness of chronic conditions. Care plans are being implemented to help manage chronic diseases before they develop into acute issues requiring hospitalization. Setting an action plan early can help prevent a serious health problem from happening. In addition, these preventive measures create opportunities to improve employee productivity and increase customer satisfaction.

  • Supporting patients to manage their health: A new approach to healthcare means empowering you to take charge of your care. Care plans are developed collaboratively between the patient and the healthcare team. Patients can identify their personal goals and priorities, then together with their healthcare provider, develop a personalized treatment plan that works for them.


Importance of Follow-Up Appointments

Follow-up appointments offer more value than most people realize. These meetings give patients and prescribers the chance to connect and discuss patient progress. Here are a few points that may be checked during a follow-up visit:

  • Assess the efficacy of medicines

  • Monitor side effects and adverse events for safety

  • Determine if the medicine is helping with other symptoms (e.g., pain)

  • Evaluate adherence; is the drug being taken as prescribed?

  • Check for potential interactions between medications

  • Understand whether a treatment plan has improved the quality of life

Without following up with your doctor, you might miss out on vital information about your health. For instance, what if you find out that you have an easier way to help control your asthma? You could try that new inhaler that was recommended by your doctor. You will want to make sure you communicate any changes in your health status or symptoms to your doctor as well.


The Patient’s Role in the Health Journey

Patients should not be treated as passive recipients of care. You, the patient, must be involved in every aspect of your health journey. Being informed about what you can do to improve your overall health and wellness is important. You should understand how medications work, and why you may take certain actions. You should also know how to communicate effectively with your healthcare providers about any changes due to medication. It’s time to take control of your health!


The Tria Health Difference

Medications are the main course of treatment for chronic diseases and pharmacists are medication specialists. This makes them the best at helping you create a customized health care plan specifically for you.


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 routine consultations, your pharmacist will review all your current medications, including vitamins and supplements. Tria Health will assist you in identifying any possible drug interactions, possible medications you could discontinue, and savings opportunities! Your pharmacist will work with you and your doctor(s) to ensure the intended outcomes from your medications are being received.

In conclusion, you should know whether your medication is working, if you have an effective treatment plan that helps you monitor how you're doing and by following up with your doctor who can assess your current symptoms, make the necessary changes, and help you get back on track.


Questions?

Contact the Tria Health Desk at 1.888.799.8742

Resources

  1. Follow Up with Patients: Tool #6 | Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (ahrq.gov)

  2. Center for Accelerating Care Transformation (ACT Center) | ACT Center (act-center.org)

  3. Care plans and care planning in long term conditions: a conceptual model - PMC (nih.gov)