Hospital Planning: The Risks of Basing the Future on Past Data Academic Article uri icon


  • Planning for capital development of public hospitals in Victoria is guided by a multi-stage process with comprehensive data analysis and thorough approval processes at each of the stages. The long development time frames and the limitations in the data available to project service utilisation may negatively impact upon the service planning processes, and in some cases newly developed hospitals have not been sufficiently planned to meet community needs. This paper suggests that service utilisation forecasts derived from administrative databases require a more detailed verification process than currently exists. The process requires consideration of the drivers of demand to document the core assumptions about the future drivers, benchmarks with other jurisdictions, epidemiological, comparative and corporate needs assessment to explain the differences in utilisation rates, and sensitivity analysis. Given the cost of hospital construction and the rate of change in the healthcare sector, it is important that future hospital planning processes do not accept current utilisation trends as valid for future planning without this level of verification.

publication date

  • October 2008