Improving WIC Client and WIC Staff Experience by Decreasing Wait Times

Summary

Impact Statement: 
The time participants spend waiting for appointments at the WIC clinic can lead to dissatisfaction with the WIC program and could negate efforts to retain program participants. The Marion Public Health WIC team used a fishbone diagram to determine that the primary root cause of long wait times in the clinic was a bottleneck in the flow of participants through the clinic created by scheduling patterns. The team achieved a 30% decrease in wait time for certification appointments and a 50% decrease in wait time for mid-certification appointments.
Summary: 

In January 2014, Marion County Special Supplemental Nutrition Program for Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) staff assessed the amount of time participants spend waiting to be seen in the clinic. After the wait time assessment, WIC staff used a fishbone diagram to explore the causes of wait time in the clinic. Several contributing factors to wait time were discussed, and program staff decided to change appointment times from every 30 minutes to every 15 minutes. The intent of this change was to decrease bottlenecks in clinic flow. The wait time assessment was repeated in January 2015. The change in appointment frequency resulted in a 10-minute decrease in average wait time for certification appointments and a 6-minute decrease in average wait time for mid-certification appointments. Decreasing wait time in the clinic has not only benefited program participants, but it has also benefited program staff, who no longer feel pressured to complete appointments quickly and could therefore be more effective in providing nutrition education to WIC participants.

Organization that conducted the QI initiative: 
Marion Public Health
Citation: 

Harwood, K. Public Health Quality Improvement Exchange. Improving WIC Client and WIC Staff Experience by Decreasing Wait Times. Wed, 07/15/2015 - 10:16. Available at https://www.phqix.org/content/improving-wic-client-and-wic-staff-experience-decreasing-wait-times. Accessed October 19, 2018.

Submission Status: 
Completed
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