Answered Essay: Forecasting demand for health services is an important step in managerial decision making for all

Forecasting demand for health services is an important step in managerial decision making for all healthcare organizations. This task, which often is assumed by financial managers, first requires the compilation and examination of historical information. Although many quantitative forecasting methods exist, four common methods of forecasting are percent adjustment, 12-month moving average, trendline, and seasonalized forecast. Discuss within the context of forcasting in healthcare, which of the statistics tools do you feel would be helpful for better understanding the data you might have available to use in developing your forecasts?

Expert Answer

The context of forecasting in healthcare:

Hospitals and public health centers, in general, possess greater demand for health-related care and service than what is available at the hospitals. i.e., Capacity of the hospital staff and resources are at scarce when it comes to meeting its demand. Hence it is imperative for all hospitals to foresee the demand with higher accuracy in order to optimally utilize the available resources and have an alternate strategy in place during peak seasons. Like moving patients to other facilities in order to accommodate patients who may need higher care etc., For patients who need primary care can be discharged and transferred to other health service centers against the one who may need higher care in the current unit. Also, certain special services can be outsourced and taken from private segments if the public health unit does not possess all necessary resources for the required treatment and seldom it may not fit in their healthcare strategy. Foreseeing the demand, not just at the staffing level, also based on the other clinical resources, elements, availability of support staff, physicians, amenities etc., at aggregate level will provide a different perspective to the hospital care services.

Different types of forecasting methods suitable for health care industries are…

  1. Support Vector Regression
  2. Neural Networks
  3. Naïve Forecast
  4. Weighted Moving Average Method
  5. Linear Regression

Weighted Moving Average method is another well-known technique being used widely in most of the health care organizations. An example of the same is illustrated below…

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