Client Flow through the Women, Infants, and Children Public Health Program

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 1998


The Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) Program, managed by the county boards of health, provides nutrition, limited physical examinations, and food vouchers for pregnant women and for children with nutritional deficiencies. Because federal guidelines for the WIC program leave little maneuvering room to improve the delivery of services, a study analyzed the client flow through a WIC clinic in the Atlanta metropolitan area to determine how that flow could be managed more efficiently. The challenge facing the WIC clinic was to increase the efficiency of their operation in an environment characterized by resource constraints, rigid regulations, and dysfunctional client behavior. In order to analyze the clinic's problem, the General Purpose Simulation System for personal computer (GPSS/PC) was used to simulate client flow through the clinic. The results of the simulations revealed that reducing the time before a late appointment was filled significantly decreased the time spent in the clinic, on average, for all clients. Furthermore, the time spent waiting for both clerks and nurses decreased, the utilization of the clerks decreased, and the utilization of the nurses increased in 2 of the 3 estimations.

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