SALT LAKE CITY, Utah (Good Things Utah) – Following your doctor’s orders when it comes to your medication is a vital part of your overall health care plan.

  • Taking medication as prescribed is called “medication adherence”
  • Medicine only works if you take it correctly
  • Not only that, patients with chronic conditions can face serious health conditions if they don’t take their medications as prescribed

Medicine doesn’t work if you don’t take it.

It seems like a simple concept, but of the nearly half of Americans who took at least one prescription medication last month—and the nearly 25% who took three or more—up to half don’t take their prescriptions as indicated or advised by their doctor or pharmacist. Beyond not realizing the benefits of your medications if you don’t take them as indicated, there can be serious health consequences, as well – especially for those who live with chronic conditions.

That’s why the health professionals at Optum stress what’s known as “medication adherence” – or, taking your medications as prescribed and directed.

There are many reasons someone may be nonadherent, including:

  • Fearing potential side effects
  • High costs
  • Not always feeling fully informed as to the need for a specific prescription
  • Feeling like they are prescribed too many prescriptions
  • Not experiencing symptoms – Optum health experts caution that though you may take a lack of symptoms to mean you don’t need a medication, that’s actually often a sign it’s doing exactly what it’s supposed to do!
  • Worrying about developing possible dependency issues

Optum Utah stresses a value-based care model from top to bottom that emphasizes close, regular contact with your doctor. The more you and your doctor communicate, the better they’re able to advise you on matters related to your health.

These communications include anything related to your prescribed medications. Anytime an Optum patient is prescribed a new medication, both doctors and pharmacists work closely together to ensure patients understand exactly why a medication is being prescribed; and any potential side effects, along with strategies for how to deal with them.

Another area of emphasis? Medication reconciliation.

At Optum Utah, health care professionals ensure all patients understand their prescribed medications, and that all their questions are answered. This process is especially important for patients who may be at higher risk due to transitioning in and out of managed care environments, like hospitals or skilled nursing facilities.

Anytime a patient checks into or discharges from a care facility, a full reconciliation process takes place. This means a full review of all previously prescribed medications, to make sure the patient is taking them properly, and that—just as importantly—they’re still appropriate in the care facility environment.

This is especially important when you consider additional medications that doctors in hospital settings may often prescribe to patients. It’s a crucial step toward making sure that all possible interactions are taken into account, and that the patient is getting the care they need.

Finally, within two days of being discharged, all patients get a follow-up check-in to make sure they aren’t having any issues with their medications.

Stressing medication adherence, emphasizing the importance of open communication with your doctor, and committing to a thorough review of prescribed medications when a patient enters or leaves a care facility are all part of Optum’s strong commitment to patient care.

Visit to learn more about all the services Optum offers to members, throughout the community.

Sponsored by Optum Utah.