Meet the Team Monday: Michael Hum, Clinical Pharmacist, BOOMR®
March is Pharmacy Awareness Month (PAM) – a time to highlight the enormous contributions that pharmacists and pharmacy technicians make to care teams and residents alike. This March marks one year since the COVID-19 pandemic began, and the pharmacy community has stepped up like never before to keep our communities safe and healthy.
We would like to present our “Meet the Team Monday” series, in which we feature members of our valued pharmacy team. Today, let us introduce you to Michael Hum, who works as a Clinical Pharmacist with the Better Coordinated Cross-Sectoral Medication Reconciliation (BOOMR®) program at Medical Pharmacies Group Limited (MPGL).
1. What is your role at MPGL?
As a Clinical Pharmacist with the BOOMR program, I lead an interdisciplinary medication reconciliation (MedRec) process, conducted virtually, for residents moving into retirement and nursing homes. Whenever transitions of care occur in the patient journey, particularly for older adults who are frail and on many medications, these are vulnerable points due to the risk of harmful medication errors and drug-related adverse events.
To facilitate safer transitions, I partner with regional health authorities, hospitals, continuing care facilities, pharmacies, residents and caregivers to ensure accurate medical information, and that each resident’s wishes, concerns and goals of care are included. Leveraging information from all parties, I work closely with physicians and nursing staff at the home to address concerns and provide recommendations to optimize medication treatment.
2. Why did you want to be or what was your inspiration to become a BOOMR Clinical Pharmacist?
I’ve always wanted to practice in a setting where I could utilize my clinical skills and creativity to advance the pharmacy profession and improve the delivery of care to patients. Geriatrics to me has always been the most interesting and exciting area of pharmacy practice. It stresses the importance of all members of the interprofessional healthcare team working together to care for those who are the most vulnerable and medically complex.
3. What has been your favorite project at MPGL?
That’s a tough one! I have been fortunate to work alongside amazing mentors and colleagues who foster a mindset of growth and innovation, and have been involved in a variety of great research and quality improvement initiatives over the years. I think the project that sticks out to me the most would be our research publication in Healthcare Quarterly, demonstrating the economic impact of pharmacist-driven medication reconciliation and substantial cost savings to the healthcare system through decreased polypharmacy and hospital admissions. My hope is that our work will highlight for policymakers the value of virtual pharmacy services and investment in a MedRec program for transitions to long-term care and retirement homes.
4. If you could interview one person (dead or alive) in the pharmacy/healthcare industry, who would it be?
John Pemberton – pharmacist and the inventor of my favourite soda beverage and long-time guilty pleasure, Coca-Cola!
5. What advice do you wish someone gave you early in your career?
Get to know your patients and caregivers. Good communication is the key to understanding what their needs are and being able to provide personalized care. As a patient moves through the healthcare system, they are not just a “hospital patient” or “long-term care resident.” It is important to remember that each patient is a person outside of the environment we are witnessing them in. BOOMR has always focused on the patient’s story in the process of optimizing patient care, and that truly resonates with me.