Meet the Team: Michael Sam-Yorke

September 2, 2020
7 minute read
Cristian Halati

In this week’s Meet the Team series, we talk to Michael Sam-Yorke, Pharmacy Manager at Phlo. In this Pharmacy Manager Interview, Michael discusses his role, shares his views on what it takes to succeed in the digital health landscape and his thoughts on what makes Phlo different.

Tell us a bit about your background and what made you decide to become a pharmacist?

I’ve always been quite good at sciences and when it came to picking a career path pharmacy seemed like a great fit for me as it allowed me to mix business, science and interacting with people from all walks of life. It also helped that a few members of my family were already in various healthcare professions.

I have spent much of my career in community pharmacy, working for both independent chemists and large multiple chain pharmacies as pharmacist in some roles and a pharmacy manager in others. I’ve even tried my hand at a little retail management along the way.

Tell us a bit about your role at Phlo. When did you join, what is your position and what does it entail?

I joined Phlo in June 2020 as the Pharmacy Manager; a role that involves me managing the day-to-day running of the pharmacy business at the ground level.  

With the help of my pharmacy colleagues, we ensure that prescriptions get out to our Phlo patients in a speedy manner and that our patients receive the best care possible.  

My role is as Pharmacy Manager is to always be available and cater to the needs of our patients by any means necessary.  

What do you enjoy most about your role at Phlo?

No two days are alike, which is fun! Phlo as an organisation is also constantly evolving for the better, which I really enjoy! Being part of such a company really keeps you on your toes!  

What motivates you and what are your core values?

Legacy is what motivates me; I am more concerned about what my peers and patients have to say about me than anything else! I would love to know that whenever my name is brought up in any conversation people have nothing but good things to say about me.  

What is the most crucial aspect required to succeed in the digital health landscape?

I feel that the most crucial aspect to succeed in this digital health landscape is the ability to be able to provide excellent patient facing care without physically meeting the patient. This can be quite difficult in digital health at times, but luckily there are ways and means around this, such as email, phone conversation and video consultations.  

Patients may also be sceptical of the process or they can question whether they can get the same level of service that they would otherwise get from brick-and-mortar pharmacies, so it’s up to us to prove to them that they can, and that in fact they can get a superior service!  

In order to succeed in this landscape, you have to work to change how patients perceive digital health as a whole and help them realise that more often than not, digital healthcare is easier to access and more beneficial than the traditional service they have become accustomed to.  

Can you share an interesting story from your career so far?

Whilst working I had a customer come into the store complaining that her left arm felt weak and that she had trouble lifting it, I proceeded to ask her some more questions, and I could see that she was slurring her words as she spoke. As soon as I realised this, I took her into the consultation room and told her that I wanted to give the ambulance a call as I felt that she needed to be seen to as soon as possible. I did not tell her that I suspected that she had a stroke in order not to worry her.

Once I had called the ambulance, I waited with her in the consultation room, just to keep an eye on her and also to keep her spirits up. Once the paramedics came; they confirmed that she had a stroke and took her to hospital for the appropriate treatment. Her husband later came back to thank me saying that if I had not called the ambulance for her when I did; the situation could have been a lot worse.

What makes Phlo different?

The emphasis that we put on bringing the pharmacy (not just your medication) to you!  

With other organisations it is simply a case of getting the medicine delivered to patients in a timely manner. For us it’s about much more than that.  

At Phlo we do our best to see each patient as an individual and to provide the same sort of service (and even better if possible) to our customers that they would receive if they were to walk into a physical pharmacy.

We take pride in going above and beyond for our patients.  

What do you like to do in your spare time?

There are several things that I enjoy doing in my spare time and most of them involve sport and fitness. I enjoy running because it keeps me fit and allows me to listen to my audio books, so I guess it benefits me two-fold.  

I also enjoy playing and coaching basketball. Due to the current climate however, it’s been quite a few months since I’ve played, and I absolutely cannot wait to get back out there on the court.

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