How to conduct a time study

How to conduct a time study

Five steps for analyzing outpatient flow in your practice.
source-image
Jan 01, 2010
By dvm360.com staff

Consultant Pamela Stevenson, CVPM, says a time study is a great tool for analyzing outpatient flow in your practice. "It's one of the quickest and easiest ways to get a grip on an undefined problem," she says. Here's how to do it:

1. Inform the team. Employees need to know that this isn't a pointless exercise; it's a way to identify problems that keep your practice from offering the best service. What's more, team members' role in recording the data is crucial—without accurate information, you can't pinpoint the best solutions.

2. Create time sheets. Set up a system for recording each client's reason for visiting the practice, the veterinarian he or she saw, and the time at different stages of the visit.

3. Conduct the study. During a two-week period, record the following for all clients who visit for practice services: the time of arrival, the time they enter an exam room, the time a doctor enters that exam room, the time the doctor leaves, and the time the client checks out. Create a sheet that travels with the client for team members to record these times.

4. Analyze the results. Once the study is complete, enter the data in an Excel spreadsheet, noting any problematic client wait times.

5. Develop a plan. Once you see what (and who) the problems are, gather the team together to brainstorm solutions. Develop target goals for your next time study in six months' time.

Click here for forms and examples to help you complete a time study.

Hot topics on dvm360

Vetcetera: The complex topic of canine fear-related aggression

A guided tour of resources for addressing this popular and complicated subject, featuring advice from Dr. John Ciribassi.

Reality TV and the veterinarian: Discussing mainstream dog training advice with clients

Your clients may be getting behavior advice from cable TV. Get your opinion in the mix.

Blog: Election results pose obstacles for veterinary prescription law

Flip in U.S. Senate's majority may slow progress of Fairness to Pet Owners Act.

The war between shelters, veterinarians needs to end

Despite practitioners’ legitimate gripes, they’re hurting themselves.

7 steps to a better relationship between veterinarians and rescue groups

A DVM in the city shares his advice to veterinary practices for working with rescues.