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Hourly Forecasting of Emergency Department Arrivals : Time Series Analysis

by   Avishek Choudhury, et al.

Background: The stochastic behavior of patient arrival at an emergency department (ED) complicates the management of an ED. More than 50 ED capacity tends to operate beyond its normal capacity and eventually fails to deliver high-quality care. To address the concern of stochastics ED arrivals, many types of research has been done using yearly, monthly and weekly time series forecasting. Aim: Our research team believes that hourly time-series forecasting of the load can improve ED management by predicting the arrivals of future patients, and thus, can support strategic decisions in terms of quality enhancement. Methods: Our research does not involve any human subject, only ED admission data from January 2014 to August 2017 retrieved from the UnityPoint Health database. Autoregressive integrated moving average (ARIMA), Holt Winters, TBATS, and neural network methods were implemented to forecast hourly ED patient arrival. Findings: ARIMA (3,0,0) (2,1,0) was selected as the best fit model with minimum Akaike information criterion and Schwartz Bayesian criterion. The model was stationary and qualified the Box Ljung correlation test and the Jarque Bera test for normality. The mean error (ME) and root mean square error (RMSE) were selected as performance measures. An ME of 1.001 and an RMSE of 1.55 was obtained. Conclusions: ARIMA can be used to provide hourly forecasts for ED arrivals and can be utilized as a decision support system in the healthcare industry. Application: This technique can be implemented in hospitals worldwide to predict ED patient arrival.


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