5 key steps to better manage your health

Healthcare in the United States is changing. Healthcare professionals are under more pressure than ever to see as many patients as possible, to manage patients with multiple problems, and to do so as quickly as possible. However, what’s also changing is the expected role of the patient. No longer is the patient supposed to sit quietly while having their treatment plan dictated to them. Collaboration is the new ideal (as it should be!). This is hugely important if we are going to change our largely “sickcare” system into a “healthcare” system.  By providing patient-centered care, providers invite people to participate in developing their own unique plan of action to address each of their health-related problems and better manage their own health.

Effective self care is something which all of us can achieve with the right attitude.

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Here are 5 Key Steps to Better Manage Your Health

Step 1:  Find out what services your health plan pays for.

Health insurance plans will often times pay for additional services you may not have realized were covered.

For example:

  1. Dietitian services
  2. Complete medication review services provided by a pharmacist
  3. Discounted or free membership to a gym
  4. Counseling services

Step 2:  Identify your personal health and wellness goals.

What do you want to achieve? Maybe you want to get fit so you can play with your grandchildren, perhaps you’re planning a special family trip this summer and you’d like to be able to keep up with all the walking it will require, or maybe you’d like to lose 30 pounds so you can fit into all those great clothes in your closet! Each of us have our own unique motivators when it comes to managing our health – by tapping into your own desires for your health (and not just trying to do what someone “told you” to do), you’ll be more likely to achieve your goals.

Step 3:  Develop a plan of action to make changes.

What do you think you can reasonably change right now? What are some habits you can focus on starting? How can you set yourself up for success? Maybe this means setting reminders on your phone to:

1. Exercise 2. Take your medications 3. Get up from your desk and stretch. Maybe this means writing a grocery list to focus on making healthy food choices before going to the store and then sticking to the list.  When making your plan, be sure to make it manageable- don’t try to change everything at once. Pick a few key areas that you feel confident you can successfully change. That way you’ll be less likely to get frustrated or demoralized when you put your plan into action.

Step 4:  Decide how you’ll measure your success and set a time frame.

Depending on the types of goals you’ve decided to target, you’ll need to brainstorm on how you’re going to measure each of them. Taking the examples from above, if your goal is to walk long distances on an upcoming trip, then setting an exercise goal of walking a mile 3 times a week for the first month and working up to 2 miles 3-5 times a week would be a good measure of success. If losing weight is your goal, you could target a weight loss measure of 1 pound per week .

You’ll also need to set a date on your calendar to check-in on how you’re doing. A weekly check-in date is a good place to start (so time won’t get away from you).

Using a calendar or journal can be a useful tool here:

  • Document your success
  • Note any challenges you’ve had

This gives you the chance to assess what’s working and what’s not! Then you can make adjustments to your plan as needed.

Step 5:  Enlist someone onto your team to help you stay accountable.

By asking someone to help you stay on track, you increase your likelihood of success.  Having someone to keep you accountable is a safeguard to keep yourself committed to your plan to take control of your health and start achieving your health goals today!

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At RxLive our goal is to help people get healthy and stay well.  Our pharmacist telehealth services allow us to partner with patients and their families to achieve better health and outcomes.

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If you found this helpful, you may want to check out the following:

New Year, New Medical Insurance: What You Need to Know
Pharmacy Costs and Open Enrollment: What to Consider When Picking a Plan
Joint Replacement: The Pharmacist Weighs In

Kristen Engelen, PharmD
Kristen Engelen, PharmD, is the chief pharmacy officer of RxLive and a certified consultant pharmacist; she has over a decade of experience in retail pharmacy settings. Kristen became an RxLive co-founder because of her passion for geriatric pharmacy, with a focus on the intersection of pharmacy and aging.