Scarcely noticed, but highly efficient: The walkway analysis

Facts and figures on the German health care system.

What it’s all about

Conducting walkway analysis is standard practice in many industries to increase work efficiency and productivity. In medical practices, it is not widely used. So far, for example, barely ten per cent of ophthalmologists have conducted such an analysis.

Tasks dominate routes

Walking distances are hardly taken into account in GP and specialist practices because the daily walking workload is not even actively perceived in view of the tasks and work involved. However, the spatial arrangement of the contact points and the coordination of work and the resulting walking distances have a significant influence on the time available and the workload that can be handled.

A case study

The distance between the material room of a practice and the reception is 36 metres. Each of the five medical assistants covers this distance 30 times a day and needs 45 seconds to do so. Calculated over all employees, the practice team spends 1.8 hours per day travelling between the two points of the practice. If, for example, the materials room is moved directly next to the reception area – if a corresponding option exists – this time is available for other work every day.

Simple to optimal paths

The implementation is uncomplicated and can be carried out quickly:


Each team member first creates a table with the following information:

  • Between which work locations does one move (e.g. reception – waiting room, waiting room – doctor’s office, etc.)?
  • How often is each route covered during the day (the frequency per hour is determined and this value is extrapolated to the working day).
  • How long are the individual routes?
  • How long does it take to cover each distance?

In addition, it can be helpful to draw the routes as lines on a floor plan of the practice („spaghetti diagram“).


The aim of the walking route table is to become aware of the established walking routes and to look for possibilities to shorten routes and times. First, each staff member can conduct a personal analysis:

  • Could ways be saved by changing the way work is organised?
  • Are there areas of the practice that people prefer to go to less? Why?


Afterwards, the walking route tables of all team members are placed next to each other and together they check which routes could be eliminated or shortened by reorganisation.

UP: Unlocking Potentials – Facts, figures and working aids from practice management company comparisons

The facts described in this series of articles come from cross-sectional and longitudinal analyses with the results from practice management company comparisons.

This is a validated analysis system that GPs and specialists can use to examine their entire operations – from planning, patient care, leadership, marketing and organisation to time and financial management – in terms of strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities.

The survey, which can be implemented without an on-site consultant, compares the individual working framework of a practice operation with the best practice standard. It includes all the instruments, regulations and behaviours necessary for a practice to function smoothly even under changing demands.

The use of this survey over the years shows that practice owners can identify and implement an average of forty previously unused performance reserves with its help and using only thirty minutes of working time. The system is available via the IFABS shop:

or via employees in the medical or pharmaceutical field service who offer the system in cooperation with us.