Project objectives

HPA was engaged to support Queensland Health’s strategic planning agenda and build on a previous review of health service planning guidelines. The objectives were to:

  • Develop health service planning guidelines and functional conversion formulae to project future service activity and infrastructure for community health services and outpatient departments.
  • Co-design and develop a Queensland Health projection model to project status quo estimates of future health service activity and infrastructure across public service settings with built-in capability to quantify and model the various strategies being deployed by the state.
  • Work with the planning team to build capability and capacity to revise and further develop the projection model to reflect contemporary service delivery and ensure model sustainability.

Queensland Health

Our approach

HPA reviewed processes for developing and reviewing planning guidelines, assessed the quality of the existing guidelines and identified gaps. Consultations were conducted with Queensland Health stakeholders and staff responsible for planning in other jurisdictions. This was complemented by a systematic review of relevant literature and comparison of the Queensland approaches with those adopted in Australian and international jurisdictions.

The second stage of the project involved the development of planning guidelines for outpatient and community health services and the development of an inpatient services projection model to be owned and maintained by Queensland Health.


The project delivered:

  • Code to analyse inpatient data sources (the state version of the national Admitted Patients Care NMDS) and to produce projections for each ESRG, age group and planning region (which are similar to SA3s) and projections of patient flows from planning regions to hospitals. In addition to episodes, average length of stay and bed days are projected (including fractional days for same day activity). The work involved testing the forecast accuracy of alternative models (including linear, logistic and other time series methods) and recommending an approach suitable for base case projections. It has also involved modelling variation (relative utilisation) across planning regions using a hierarchical model.
  • A web based Shiny App through which users can select subsets of the data and visualise trends, patients flows and other aspects of the data (including maps/choropleths). Users can also develop scenarios by specifying parameters. These can be saved and compared with the base case and other scenarios.
  • Training to Queensland Health staff to build up expertise in maintaining the development of the projections and undertaking enhancements of the App in future years.

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