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

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jamesregan12 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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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pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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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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parama9000 | Student

This would probably be attributed to the human effort and efficiency to procedures, which may or may not be life-threatening.

krishna-agrawala | Student

Time and motion study are two broad groups of techniques constituting the field of work study.

Work study may be defines as systematic examination of methods of carrying on activities so as to improve the effective use of manpower and equipment and to set up standards of performance for the activities being performed. Motion study, also called method study is the systematic recording and critical examination of the ways of doing things to make improvements. It involves investigation of existing or alternate proposed methods of work and improving them. Time study, also called work measurement, is application of systematic techniques to establishing time standards for carrying out specified jobs. It estimates how long a job should take and the manpower and equipment requirements for a given method.

The advantages of time and motion study in hospital industry are same as that in any other industry. These include the following.

  1. To improve the methods or procedures adopted in performance of various jobs.
  2. Improving the lay out of the facility. For example in a hospital it may include lay out for facilities such as overall hospital layout, lay out of beds in a ward, layout of support facilities such as kitchen and reception area.
  3. To improve utilization of resources. For hospitals will include resources like hospital staff. operation theaters, hospital equipments, and diagnostic equipments.
  4. To reduce human effort by proper design of processes. In hospitals this can also include reducing the efforts patients need to make for different actions involved in their treatment as well as for their routine hospital treatment and care.
  5. To develop suitable working conditions. In hospitals this would include design to suit the requirements of hospital staff as well as the patients.

There are really no advantages of the time and motion study. However, we can think of some limitations. For example, the time and motion studies focus on the productive resources like the hospital staff and equipment. Traditionally these techniques do not focus much on improving service. However in hospital the level of service is very important. This disadvantage can easily be overcome by treating patients as important resources with specialized requirements. Similarly in some jobs, such as operating on a patient, the speed of completing the job is much more important than achieving efficiency. This limitation can also be overcome by appropriately changing the focus of work study and design.