If you are like many other people, then you take a variety of medications every day. This is especially true for individuals who suffer from more than one chronic condition.
People tend to take their medications as part of their daily routine. As they swallow each pill or tablet, they may struggle to recall its name or how it is supposed to benefit them. This can make it incredibly difficult to recognize whether or not the medication is effective.
Multiple Healthcare Providers, Multiple Prescriptions
To complicate matters further, people frequently receive prescription medications from their general practitioner in addition to numerous specialists. Since it’s not common for all of these practitioners to communicate with each other, it is not unusual for one doctor to be unaware of the medications that have been prescribed for each patient. This is particularly true when a patient forgets to inform each of their doctors about all of the medications they are taking. The result is that the patient may be taking two medications that don’t perform well in concert or that may even cause a harmful interaction.
Can Pharmacists Help?
Occasionally, a pharmacist may notice that a patient is taking medications that, when taken together, may pose a health problem. This provides them with an opportunity to communicate with the doctor and the patient to avoid negative consequences. However, pharmacists do not always have time to make a comprehensive overview of a patient’s medication.
The problem multiplies if the patient uses more than one pharmacy. With this situation, a single healthcare provider cannot have a complete picture of the patient’s medications.
Medication Therapy Management
When patients forget to inform their doctors about all of their medications, complications may ensue. The patient may be overmedicated from taking two prescriptions that are supposed to be treating the same condition. Alternatively, the patient may be taking medications that effectively counteract each other so that they are not receiving the benefit of either drug.
In the most serious situations, two or more medications may cause a harmful interaction. This may worsen the patient’s condition, and every year, thousands of individuals are transported to emergency rooms and hospitalized as a result of these interactions.
The key to preventing any of these problems may be participation in a Medication Therapy Management Program. People who take advantage of these programs may find that they end up saving money, taking fewer medications and feeling greater beneficial effects from the medications that they continue taking.
By taking a closer look at Medication Therapy Management services, it will be easy to see how such a program may benefit anyone who takes multiple medications to treat any chronic condition.
What Is Medication Therapy Management?
Doctors prescribe medications with the hope that the particular drug will be able to alleviate certain symptoms that the patient is experiencing. When an individual is only taking one drug, then tracking the efficacy of the drug can be straightforward.
The doctor can scientifically measure the outcome by conducting blood or other tests, and the patient may be able to report that they are experiencing fewer or no symptoms. Moreover, side effects may be fairly easy to identify. This makes it possible for the doctor to suggest an alternative drug that may provide the same benefit without the side effect.
However, things become more complicated for people who have a chronic condition that requires multiple medications or when they have more than one chronic condition. People in this situation may find themselves being treated with two, three or even a dozen daily medications.
The prescriptions may come from general practitioners and one or more specialists. These physicians may not work in the same medical facility, and there is always the possibility that they are not sharing sufficient information regarding the patient’s treatment. Instead, they rely on the patient to keep them informed concerning their medications.
The trouble is that the patient isn’t as familiar with medication names as doctors are, and if one medication is substituted for another, tremendous confusion may be the result.
What is needed in this situation is a knowledgeable healthcare professional who understands medications and how they interact. Someone who provides Medication Therapy Management services is the ideal partner for any person who is taking multiple prescription medications.
In a Medication Therapy Management program, a qualified healthcare professional comprehensively reviews all of the patient’s medications and examines why the prescription is being taken (1). This review includes any over-the-counter remedies, herbal supplements and other treatments that the patient is using.
This review makes it possible for the healthcare professional to identify and address any potential issues. These may include a medication that is not being taken correctly, such as a prescription that is being taken in the morning that is more effective when taken at night.
The review also will uncover any duplicate or unnecessary medications, which may make it possible for the patient to eventually take fewer prescriptions. With such a review, healthcare professionals may be able to identify a condition that is not being treated or that is not being managed appropriately (2).
Information regarding all of these medications is shared with the patient and any family members or caregivers that the patient wishes to have informed. This ensures the proper use of each medication regardless of who is administering it.
After the review is finished, the patient receives a written summary of all of their medications. This summary may be taken to the patient’s next doctor appointment so that it can be analyzed for any potential problems. The doctor may recommend eliminating, changing or adding medications as a result of this analysis.
If changes are made, it is wise for the patient to have the means to write down any changes on the summary so that they maintain a clear understanding of the drugs they are taking, what they are for, what their side effects may be, the dosage and when the prescription should be taken.
Ideally, the medication therapy provider will perform periodic check-ins with the patient to ask them about any changes to their prescription summary. This may alert the healthcare professional to any potentially harmful side effects or interactions.
The result of participating in a Medication Therapy Management, or MTM, program, is that the patient has a better understanding of what prescriptions they are taking and why. It also is undeniably beneficial to have a qualified healthcare professional regularly reviewing the patient’s medication to ensure optimal health outcomes.
What are the Benefits of a Medication Therapy Management Program?
Taking advantage of an MTM program may be enormously helpful for people who are taking multiple medications. Here is a closer look at a few of the benefits that you may experience.
1. Understanding Your Medications
Prescriptions are a critical part of managing your health, but they can do more harm than good when they are used incorrectly. Perhaps a certain pill should not be taken with milk while another must be taken on an empty stomach. Failure to follow such restrictions can make you sick or make the medication ineffective.
That’s why Medication Therapy Management is so important. The comprehensive review identifies each of your medications by name and tells you why you’re taking it. It also covers how you should take it, such as with food, how much you should take and what you should do if you miss a dose. You also may gain an understanding concerning how one medication may interact with or counteract another (3).
The result is that you understand all of your medications. This puts you in the driver’s seat, equipping you to ask your doctor the questions for which you need to know answers.
2. Save Money on Prescriptions
Prescription drugs are incredibly expensive, even for people who have insurance or coverage from Medicare. If you had the opportunity to discontinue use of one of your medications or to switch to a less expensive alternative, you would probably do so. An MTM program makes this a possibility.
By identifying medications that are duplicates or that are not effectively treating the condition that they are meant to treat, you may be able to save considerable money every month.
3. Obtain More Positive Outcomes
Doctors don’t arbitrarily prescribe drugs. Instead, each medication is intended to control a specific symptom or make a condition more manageable. When patients are taking multiple medications, it raises the odds of taking two medications that counteract each other or that have a harmful interaction.
Thanks to a comprehensive review of all of your medications, it is possible for you to gain the optimum benefits from each of your prescriptions (4). This means that you may finally bring your blood sugar back in line, see your cholesterol levels drop or achieve the blood pressure numbers that your doctor has been encouraging you to reach.
4. Feel Better
When your prescriptions can successfully treat your conditions and manage your symptoms, you may feel like a new person. Perhaps you’ll find that you sleep better at night, have more energy during the day and can return to the physical activities that your condition was making impossible for you. When you feel good, you can do more, and that means being able to make the most out of your life.
5. Avoid Side Effects
Tremendously helpful medications may cause an array of side effects. These may range from mildly unpleasant to sensations that hurt your quality of life. These side effects may be caused by a single medication or they may be caused or made worse by another prescription drug that you’re taking.
However, the more that you and your doctor understand about your medications, the more likely it is that your medical team will be able to identify which drug or drugs are causing the side effects. This makes it possible to change or stop medications that may be interfering with your ability to fully participate in your life.
6. Improved Chances of Sticking to a Treatment Plan
When you understand the medications you are taking, why you are taking them and what they do for you, then you can see the direct results of using this prescription. This means that you are far more likely to stay on track.
That’s because you recognize that taking your medications has a direct, positive impact on your quality of life. Plus, because you know how a particular drug helps you, you also have a better understanding of the consequences of forgetting to take it. In general, people who use Medication Therapy Management services tend to stick to a treatment plan far better than those who don’t.
7. Condition Resolution
When a Medication Therapy Management program is combined with lifestyle changes like a healthier diet and a regular exercise routine, it is sometimes possible to eliminate a chronic health condition. For example, some people who use medication to control high blood pressure may discover that by enjoying a low-fat diet based on lean protein and fresh fruits and vegetables, they are able to lose weight. They also start to exercise regularly. The result is that their blood pressure returns to an acceptable level, even without the medication.
An MTM program may make it easier for the individual to understand their various conditions and the steps they can take to resolve them. While not all chronic conditions can be cured, some of them can, and this possibility may motivate many people to make meaningful lifestyle changes.
8. Bring a Chronic Condition Under Control
A healthy diet, an exercise program, and quality sleep can go a long way toward making you healthier. However, some chronic health conditions cannot be cured. This means that it is essential for people who have these conditions to find ways to successfully manage them.
Medication may be one of the most critical treatment methods for many of these conditions. Accordingly, it is crucial to receive the correct medication, to use it as prescribed and to stick with it until your doctor provides new guidance. When you stick to a treatment plan, you may bring a chronic condition under control. This may mean no more surprise flare-ups that force you to miss important events. You’ll be better able to keep to a predictable routine in your life and be able to be there for the people you love the most.
9. Fewer Healthcare Expenses
With medication therapy, you may be able to more successfully manage or even cure some of your conditions. When you have fewer health concerns, you’ll probably make fewer doctor appointments and be able to avoid being hospitalized. Fewer copays and smaller medical bills are always welcome changes in anyone’s financial picture.
What’s more, people who participate in medication therapy management tend to spend less time at the doctor’s office and more time doing the things they love.
10. Reducing Harmful Drug Interactions
Dangerous combinations of drugs may cause anything from mild discomfort to deadly consequences. It was once believed that computerizing prescription information would make it easier to identify dangerous drug interactions, but this hasn’t proven to be true. With people taking more medications than ever for conditions like diabetes, high cholesterol, and heart disease, the chances of inadvertent dangerous drug interaction are frighteningly high.
When you, your doctor, your pharmacist and your caregivers understand all of your medications, the chances of suffering a dangerous drug interaction are minimized. This means greater peace of mind and decreasing the chances that you will be unexpectedly hospitalized.
How Can Diversity Home Health Group Help?
Moreover, MTM services also are available under Medicaid Part D. People who are suffering from at least three conditions such as:
- Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD);
- Chronic Heart Failure (CHF);
- High blood pressure; and
- High cholesterol
Meet the criteria for Medication Therapy Management through Medicaid. Additionally, the patient must be taking at least eight medications that are covered by their Medicaid plan and the annual cost of these medications must be over a threshold dollar amount.
Ask a Diversity Home Health Group professional if you meet all of these eligibility requirements for an MTM program through Medicaid Part D.
Diversity Home Health Group is dedicated to providing patient-focused services. Accordingly, our Medication Therapy Management Program is designed to help you understand the dosage and timing for each of your medications. We’ll also keep you informed with regard to any side effects that you might experience and how you can best deal with them. We’ll even work with other caregivers to ensure that you always receive the best possible care.
Diversity Home Health Group uses a multi-step process to ensure that each of our patients receives the best possible services and the best outcome. This means that our medication therapy includes these components:
- A comprehensive review of all of the medications that you are currently taking
- A medication-related action plan that you can also go over with your doctor
- A periodic targeted medication review to ensure your ongoing health and safety
- A review of your personal medical records to ensure that you’re getting the medications you need
- An intervention with a health care provider to alter medications so that the patient receives the best possible outcome
With a caring and knowledgeable Medication Therapy Management professional from Diversity Home Health Group, you can take control, understand your medications and protect yourself from dangerous drug interactions. Contact Diversity Home Health Group today to learn more!