What are the advantages and disadvantages of a time and motion study in a hospital industry?

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Stop motion studies involve the collection of data regarding the amount of time necessary to perform a specific movement or task. Ultimately, these studies are performed in order to improve efficiency in a specific workplace, and, as in a hospital, these studies could be useful as a means of producing more efficient workplace involvement between hospital workers and their patients. In these settings, stop motion studies would be especially useful as means to improve efficiency amongst hospital nurses; caretakers frequently find their time divided between a variety of different tasks. For example, one stop motion study found that nurses spend the majority of their time performing three tasks: documentation (35%), medication administration (17%), and care coordination (20%). With these results in mind, hospitals could then focus their efforts on making these three specific tasks more efficient, thereby improving the overall quality of care. A disadvantage to this approach is that the time and effort put into this study could have been used to actually improve the technology and related resources that constitute the workplace environment. Put simply, the nurses could have easily estimated what tasks took the majority of their time and then orientated their resources accordingly. 

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Time and motion studies are analyses of the movements made by workers as they go about their daily routine duties.  The studies' purpose is to determine if there are wasted movements that are repeated and which therefore waste time and reduce the productivity of the worker.  The studies are used to try to set up workspaces in such a way that a worker can do his/her routine duties as quickly and efficiently as possible.

As far as the hospital industry goes, it seems that one would use this to determine optimal placement for various frequently used implements and supplies.  The second link below is an article on a time and motion study in a hospital setting.

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