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Metrics: Specialize & simplify

Metrics: Specialize & simplify

Skye BanegasQ. How can I supercharge productivity without hiring any more employees?  

A. In 1920, Henry Ford took an economic principle from the economist Adam Smith and created the assembly line. The assembly line emphasized specialization of labor. Ford proved out the theory that an employee’s highest productivity is achieved with mastery over a set specific task.  

Today, we see the most efficient companies employing specialization of labor to streamline order processing from start to finish. Creating defined teams to perform each function along the order continuum leads to increased efficiency and to increased visibility of each team and each individual.  

We frequently guide our clients through a transformation, shifting them from a general workflow to a more focused, departmental approach. In their non-specialized workflow, team members juggle multiple tasks. In contrast, the specialized model divides responsibilities: intake manages order processing, benefits verification confirms eligibility and initiates PAR requests; customer service handles patient scheduling and co-insurance/co-pay collection; resupply aim to optimize each patient's long-term value; and billing ensures order accuracy and clean claims. 

The specialization allows a manager to identify her highest performers and those that need coaching. There is “no place to hide” with this system because each team member has one defined task to accomplish with known standard operational metrics, also known as key performance indicators or KPIs. 

Andy Grove, former CEO of Intel, expanded on efficiency in his book, High Output Management. The key to producing in the most efficient way possible? Increase productivity through simplification. Reduce the number of steps involved and define what the output of each step is or should be.  

Be it sales order WIP states or work list tasks, our most efficient clients leverage this tried-and-true process optimization. Specialize and simplify your teams for maximum efficiency, throughput and management.  

Skye Banegas is director of revenue cycle management at Strategic Office Support. You can reach her at


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