Sleep Medicine

The Thoreau Effect: Key Practices that Improve Staff Productivity in Sleep Centers

Written by
Kashyap Purani
Published on
June 6, 2023

“It is not enough to be busy… The question is: what are we busy about?” ~ Henry David Thoreau

More than a century and a half before our modern malady of confusing productivity with purposefulness and the urgent with the important, Thoreau penned the above as a journal entry in March of 1842.

Fast forward to 2023, and productivity remains a vital concern to healthcare business owners- and as owners or managers of sleep centers, you understand the vital role that productivity plays in delivering top-notch patient care.  Thoreau soughting simplicity and efficiency in his pursuit of a meaningful life inspired me to apply his philosophy to attempt to healthcare, specifically to transform the landscape of efficiency in sleep medicine.

At Aarogram, I have had the privilege of working closely with sleep centers, gaining invaluable insights into the unique demands and complexities of the industry. Managing a sleep center involves more than just the actual tasks at hand; it's about effectively managing the process of doing things as well.

Here, I share some of my most effective strategies for enhancing staff productivity at sleep centers. From streamlining operations to optimizing staff performance, here I introduce a few standard practices that you can start implementing immediately. Whether you are a seasoned manager seeking to improve existing practices or a new sleep center owner navigating the competitive landscape, the following pointers empower you to succeed.

Breakdown all the complex processes into repeatable tasks

One of the key strategies for improving staff productivity in sleep centers is to break down all the complex processes into repeatable tasks. The good news is that even the most complex processes can be disintegrated as such. By doing this, you're essentially breaking the process down into smaller, more manageable parts. Many of these tasks become much easier since you're doing one thing at a time. This makes it easier for the staff to focus on one task at a time, reducing the risk of errors and increasing productivity.

This strategy promotes a sense of accomplishment and reduces the feeling of being overwhelmed among staff members. When they can complete one task at a time and see progress being made, it boosts their morale and motivation. This positive psychological impact can contribute to increased productivity and job satisfaction, leading to better retention rates and reduced staff turnover.

With software tools like Aarogram, you can generate a task list automatically, ensuring that your staff has a clear and concise guide to follow. This not only saves time but also improves staff training and onboarding. At Aarogram, we have collected the best practices from the nation's leading sleep centers and pre-defined the essential tasks specifically for sleep centers providing diagnostic and treatment services. This means that you don't have to waste time figuring out the best way to break down your processes - we've already done it for you!

Foolproof your processes with checklists

Almost all processes follow a certain procedure and can be made easier with a simple checklist. By doing this, you can not only reduce staff training needs but also minimize the risk of errors and oversights. Studies have shown that the use of checklists can reduce errors by up to 50%. Think of it this way: just like a doctor has a checklist before surgery, having a checklist in place can save a lot of trouble for you and your staff, whether it's for insurance reimbursement, prior authorization, or patient scheduling. It ensures that each task is completed in the correct order, reducing the risk of mistakes and ensuring a smoother workflow.

Aarogram software not only provides a checklist but also customizes it based on staff action or the care path. For example, our software automatically generates a different checklist based on whether a prior authorization is required or not. We even have a checklist generated based on the patient's insurance, ensuring that each step is tailored to the specific needs of the patient and their insurance coverage. By having a checklist in place, you can ensure that each task is completed in the correct order, reducing the risk of mistakes and oversights.

Specialize but also cross train your staff

Specializing in a particular area can lead to expertise, but the reality is that in a sleep center, your staff needs to perform a variety of tasks to provide patient care. Some sleep centers tend to have specialized people doing just one thing, such as eligibility checks or scheduling patients. However, this may not be a reliable way to run your practice and may also be inefficient, especially when staff churn rate is high in the industry.

Therefore, more and more sleep centers are now cross training their staff to handle staffing issues. As Leonor from Sleep and CPAP Care Center, California discussed in our podcast show "The Efficient Care," cross training your staff leads to better outcomes for your sleep center and also better job satisfaction for your staff.

Cross-training your staff not only ensures that all necessary tasks are covered but also helps with optimizing the workload of your staff members - we will see that in the next point below.

Divide and conquer

When it comes to managing your staff and their workload, how you assign and manage tasks can make a big difference. Cross training your staff can open up opportunities to work together efficiently as a team. However, to ensure accountability and streamline processes, it's important to group tasks based on responsibility. This way, each team member knows what is expected of them and can work more effectively.

It's also essential to have clear communication and an easy handover process from one person to another. In Aarogram software, we have designed task group and task assignment features to optimize this process and bring transparency to handling patient or revenue processes. With these features, you can easily divide and conquer your workload among your team members, ensuring that everyone knows their responsibilities and can work together to achieve the best outcomes for your sleep center.

Automate as much as possible

In any sleep center, it's not uncommon for staff to spend hours on the phone with insurance companies, checking patient eligibility or requesting prior authorizations. These tasks can be incredibly time-consuming and often feel like a drain on resources. So why spend valuable staff time on low-value, tedious tasks when you can automate many of them? By automating these processes, you can free up your staff's time and focus on the things that add real value to your business, such as patient care and revenue generation.

At Aarogram, we recognize the importance of automation in sleep center operations. That's why we've developed a suite of software tools designed to automate patient eligibility checks and prior authorization requests using Robotic Process Automation (RPA) with just a click of a button! With our software, you can integrate with multiple insurance portals and streamline the entire process, reducing errors and freeing up your staff's valuable time.

Follow-ups is the key!

While running your sleep medicine practice, following up is crucial to ensure that your patients receive the care they need and that your sleep center is getting paid for the services provided. Failing to follow up with patients can lead to missed appointments, rescheduling delays, and ultimately a decrease in patient satisfaction. Similarly, not following up with insurance companies can lead to lost revenue and denied claims. At Aarogram, we understand the importance of follow-up and therefore we have integrated features such as automated reminders for your staff for efficient follow-ups. Our software not only reminds them to follow up with patients but also with payers to check the status of pending authorization requests or claim denials. These reminders are automated as well as can be easily modified to suit your needs, ensuring that you never miss an important follow-up while running your sleep center.

Track all of your numbers at one place

Data is the key when it comes to improving any business. Unfortunately, using different methods for patient record, referral order, eligibility check, prior authorization, claim filing or payment tracking can scatter the important revenue cycle-related data across different systems, or even result in missing the key data altogether. Even if you're using some software or insurance company portal, it may not link all of the data with each other to give you a full picture.

It's crucial to aggregate and track all of your data related to patient and revenue operations in one place to get a full picture of how your sleep center is operating as a business. Otherwise, you'll be working in the dark trying to improve your business operations.

What if you could capture all of these data automatically without having someone to input it manually into a system? That's the approach we've integrated while designing our task management system. You can use it to organize and manage your revenue operations efficiently while capturing all of the revenue related data. Then, our AI system automatically generates insights and provides intelligence for you to optimize your staff efficiency and revenue cycle. You can get real-time reports on your sleep center's revenue operations, including patient flow, revenue trends, claim productivity, payer performance, and more. Our system enables you to identify the bottlenecks in your revenue cycle, improve your staff processes, and gain visibility into your business performance.


At the end of the day, the success of your sleep center depends on your ability to provide high-quality care to your patients while also running a profitable business. As the sleep industry continues to evolve and the insurance reimbursement becomes harder to navigate, it's more important than ever to prioritize efficiency and revenue optimization in your sleep center. This requires a deep understanding of the business operations, a willingness to innovate and adapt, and a commitment to excellence in every aspect of your operations. By taking a holistic approach to your operations, focusing on cross-training and task management, and leveraging technology like Aarogram software, you can set your sleep center business or medical practice up for success.