Practice Systems

Time & Motion Analysis

For Highly Effective Dental Assistants

A time and motion study can be utilized to improve efficiency and establish productivity standards. It can be difficult to identify the wasted time in a hectic schedule when the primary focus is on the patient receiving care. A time and motion study is conducted by an outside observer, or video recording (with permission), of various procedures. This allows the primary focus to be an analysis of improved efficiency through reduced ergonomic strains for the Dentist and assistant, as well as improved organization to reduce wasted effort and time throughout the appointment. Discovering an additional 10-15 minutes through improved efficiency in each appointment ultimately improves the patient experience, reduces stress for the Doctor and team, and adds to the bottom line.


Take note of:

  • Excessive turning or reaching
  • Improper placement of materials
  • Any span of non-activity (when and how long)
  • Missing procedure items requiring an exit


What to look for:

  • Maintenance of the order of dental instruments and materials according to their sequence of use
  • Anticipation of a patient’s needs, the Dentist’s needs, and the ability to recognize and act on changes in the procedure
  • Ease of instrument transfer and passing of materials
  • Instruments and materials are within arm’s reach
  • Appropriate use of breaks or punctuations in treatment to enter data into the practice management system, check on the patient’s comfort level, clean and put away any instruments or materials




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