Ben Gant Innovative Practice Award 2023: Josh Kim

Updated on February 1, 2024 (Originally posted on December 6, 2023) The Tablet

Josh Kim
Ben Gant Innovative Practice Award
Manager, Specialty Pharmacy and Services, London Drugs
Richmond, B.C.

Pharmacist Josh Kim sees numerous opportunities ahead for the profession to have a bigger role in the overall health-care system. Whether it’s the area of point-of-care testing, injection training, providing support for specialty medications, counselling, or bringing new technologies into community pharmacies, the possibilities are endless.

It’s one of the reasons why he feels proud to have served at London Drugs since his start in pharmacy 21 years ago. Today, he is the Manager of Specialty Pharmacy and Services at London Drugs, where one of his roles is to ensure the success of up-and-coming pharmacy programs.

“London Drugs has been one of the forerunners in implementing newer technologies and innovations in pharmacy, such as automation, online tools, and consultation booths for the pharmacist to sit down and talk with patients,” Kim says.

One of his most innovative roles has been his work with the Canadian Liver Foundation on the Liver Beware Project, a patient-screening initiative held at a couple of London Drugs pharmacy locations intended to identify the prevalence of significant liver conditions such as fatty liver and fibrosis among individuals without known liver conditions. Within two years of offering the service, more than 3,000 patients were screened.

“This project would not have happened if it wasn’t for Josh,” says Dr. Eric Yoshida, MD, a co-lead of the Liver Beware Project and a gastroenterologist at Vancouver General Hospital.

Josh Kim

Josh Kim, Manager of Specialty Pharmacy at London Drugs, is recognized for innovative practices with the Ben Gant Award. With more than two decades in pharmacy, he has been an integral part of transformative initiatives, such as the Liver Beware Projects and Hepatitis C point-of-care testing (POCT) and linkage to care programs, showcasing his commitment to patient-centered care and expanding the pharmacist's role in healthcare.

Kim’s role involved helping recruit volunteers from universities to help deliver the program. He brought marketing support with posters, brochures, and social media postings so patients were aware of the opportunity. And for any eligible patients who showed up for their liver screening, he worked with pharmacists to offer medication and vaccine reviews. The service was an opportunity to not only demonstrate the capability of pharmacists, but to also offer patients a service that they may not have had in the past.

Chris Chiew, Vice President of Pharmacy and Healthcare Innovation at London Drugs, says the first year of the Liver Beware Project was so successful that the Canadian Liver Foundation invited London Drugs to participate again.

“The reactions have been very positive,” Chiew says.

One clear sign of progress in pharmacyhas been the recent growth in the pharmacists’ scope of practice in British Columbia.

“It is great to see that we are playing a critical role in immunization programs. It’s awesome to see now we’re able to inject medications other than vaccines, and recently we started prescribing for minor ailments and contraception, and our scope of practice keeps expanding,” he says.

“However, our potential role in disease screening and management through point-of-care testing and other tools, that’s an area where we’re not playing a big enough role in the community,” he adds.

“In order for community pharmacists to do this we need to increase our scope and reach different services and programs to be able to understand the holistic picture of the patient’s health. I believe that’s possible when we get more involved in the disease management approach.”

This article is featured in The Tablet. The Tablet features pharmacy and industry news, profiles on B.C. pharmacists, information on research developments and new products.