We've begun to roll out a just-in-time unit dose medication distribution system at GF Strong, UBC and Vancouver General Hospitals. Just-in-time unit dose medication distribution increases patient safety by making it easier for nurses to do what they always do: provide quality care, including medications.

Nurses are loving the new approach. "You just saved me ten minutes", "I really like it", and a big two thumbs up are some of the comments I've heard as I provide go-live support on a pair of medical nursing units.

I'd say there are two major reasons why it's going so well: First, the system is intrinsically good for nurses. Nurses are over-worked, under-paid, and totally committed to their patients. Anything that improves patient safety while making their job easier is going to be a hit.

The second reason is the excellent communication and training by our team of nurse educators. We have to train about 3,000 nurses. We started four weeks before the first units went live, and will continue up to the last go-live week in December. With four nurse educators giving a half-hour session, we're reaching 100 percent of the nurses on most nursing units, and well over 80 percent on the rest.

On any future front-line health care projects I may do, I'm going to insist on the budget to adequately listen to and train the front-line health care providers. This has been so key.

I've been the project manager on this project for just over a year. It's been a complicated, multi-faceted project with a lot of challenges. It's totally satisfying to see a successful start to the roll-out. We're phasing in nursing units for the next three months, so I'm sure there'll be some challenges along the way, but it's clear that we've got a winner.

Stay tuned for future posts about why this project is so successful, and what the challenges have been.