Health Care Management Science

, Volume 8, Issue 3, pp 221–230

Choice of Models for the Analysis and Forecasting of Hospital Beds



There is growing concern that current health care services are not sustainable. The compartmental flow model provides the opportunity for improved decision-making about bed occupancy decisions, particularly those of a strategic nature. This modelling can be applied to complement infrastructure and workforce-planning methods.

Discussion about appropriateness of the level of model complexity, the degree of fit and the ability to use compartmental flow models for generalization and forecasting has been lacking. The authors investigated model selection and assessment in relation to hospital bed compartment flow models.

A compartment model for a range of scenarios was created. The training and test data related to the 1998 and 1999 calendar years, respectively. The majority of scenarios tested were based upon commonly used periods that describe periods of time. The goodness-of-fit achieved by optimisation was measured against the training and test data.

Model fit improved with increasing complexity as expected. The analysis of model fit against the test data showed that increasing model complexity did result in over-fitting, and better prediction was achieved with a relatively simple model. In terms of generalisation, the seasonal models performed best.

Single day census type models, which have been used by Millard and his colleagues, were also generated. The performance of these models was similar, but inferior to that of the models generated from a full year of training data. The additional data make the models better able to capture the variation across the year in activity.


occupancy average length of stay beds modelling 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science + Business Media, Inc. 2005

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of PsychologyUniversity of Adelaide and Principal Project Officer, Department of HealthSouth Australia
  2. 2.Department of PsychologyUniversity of AdelaideSouth Australia

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