STUDY OBJECTIVE--The aim was to evaluate the current approach to forecasting hospital bed requirements. DESIGN--The study was a time series and regression analysis. The time series for mean duration of stay for general surgery in the age group 15-44 years (1969-1982) was used in the evaluation of different methods of forecasting future values of mean duration of stay and its subsequent use in the formation of hospital bed requirements. RESULTS--It has been suggested that the simple trend fitting approach suffers from model specification error and imposes unjustified restrictions on the data. Time series approach (Box-Jenkins method) was shown to be a more appropriate way of modelling the data. CONCLUSION--The simple trend fitting approach is inferior to the time series approach in modelling hospital bed requirements.
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