Decreasing Wait Times at a Reproductive Health Clinic


Impact Statement: 
In an effort to improve customer satisfaction, Carroll County General Health District embarked upon a QI project to decrease waiting time in the reproductive health clinic. Their aim for a 10% reduction in waiting time was nearly achieved by taking a novel approach to addressing the identified root cause.

The Carroll County General Health District, in response to patients' desire to spend less time waiting in its clinics, sought to reduce the time a patient spends in the reproductive health clinic. Many patients in the reproductive health clinic were voicing their displeasure with the time they had to wait throughout their visit. Through the use of flowcharts, histograms, and a fishbone diagram, the team determined that the way it handles and distributes paperwork throughout a patient's visit needed to be changed. The team eliminated redundant paperwork, made paperwork available on the website, and provided the option for patients to fill out paperwork while they waited in an exam room for the practitioner. The team reduced the average time a patient is at the clinic by slightly more than 6 minutes. The goal was 6.5 minutes. The team will continue with the changes because the post-intervention time studies were conducted with one fewer staff member working in the clinic.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 
Carroll County General Health District

Allende, L. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Decreasing Wait Times at a Reproductive Health Clinic. Wed, 05/28/2014 - 21:59. Available at Accessed March 1, 2024.

Submission Status: 
0 users have voted.


Submitted by madamalak on

Thank you for sharing this work. I like how you decided to work on this particular QI project - priority for the community, ability to measure change and feasibility to complete in a noted time frame. The lesson you learned and shared cannot be overstated. Perceptions of what causes a problem may not be accurate and can possibly steer us away from improving it.

0 users have voted.

Submitted by egbersr on

It is interesting to see common problems among health clinics. I like the break down of wait times as this compares to our clinic also.

0 users have voted.

Jane Palmer's picture
Submitted by Jane Palmer on

Our clinic staff conducted a QI project to improve the "no-show" rate. After implementing several strategies, the rate improved. Now into year 2, with staff turn over, the rates have fallen again. Our PDCA cycle is in the ACT phase or revisiting strategies with staffs and hopefully over time, a return to the improved "show-rates" we initially experienced. This goes to show that the process is continuous, not a "once and we're good" event!

0 users have voted.

Jane Palmer RN/BSN
Public Health Nursing Supervisor
North Central Public Health District

SaraWarren's picture
Submitted by SaraWarren on

Decreasing wait times seems to be a common subject matter in public health. Our health department has identified this topic as our focus for the upcoming year. Reviewing the information in this submission has given me another reference point and efficiency suggestions. Having this information posted is great and really drives home the need for this QI forum.

0 users have voted.

Sara Warren

Submitted by gkroberts on

Hi, can you please share details on how you conducted your time studies (baseline and post-implementation)? We are doing an identical project in our health department and this information would help us with planning and execution of data collection.

0 users have voted.

Gurleen Roberts, MPH
Director of Quality Management
Cobb & Douglas Public Health
Marietta, GA