Prediction of Daily Patient Numbers for a Regional Emergency Medical Center using Time Series Analysis

Healthc Inform Res. 2010 Sep;16(3):158-65. doi: 10.4258/hir.2010.16.3.158. Epub 2010 Sep 30.


Objectives: To develop and evaluate time series models to predict the daily number of patients visiting the Emergency Department (ED) of a Korean hospital.

Methods: Data were collected from the hospital information system database. In order to develop a forecasting model, we used, 2 years of data from January 2007 to December 2008 data for the following 3 consecutive months were processed for validation. To establish a Forecasting Model, calendar and weather variables were utilized. Three forecasting models were established: 1) average; 2) univariate seasonal auto-regressive integrated moving average (SARIMA); and 3) multivariate SARIMA. To evaluate goodness-of-fit, residual analysis, Akaike information criterion and Bayesian information criterion were compared. The forecast accuracy for each model was evaluated via mean absolute percentage error (MAPE).

Results: The multivariate SARIMA model was the most appropriate for forecasting the daily number of patients visiting the ED. Because it's MAPE was 7.4%, this was the smallest among the models, and for this reason was selected as the final model.

Conclusions: This study applied explanatory variables to a multivariate SARIMA model. The multivariate SARIMA model exhibits relativelyhigh reliability and forecasting accuracy. The weather variables play a part in predicting daily ED patient volume.

Keywords: Crowding; Emergency Medical Service; Seasonal Variation; Statistical Models; Trends.