A new software package, developed by researchers, helps hospital or emergency staff anticipate the rush of patients hour by hour for the day or the next week, even on holidays with varying dates, such as Easter. The Patient Admission Prediction Tool (PAPT), designed by Australian e-Health Research Centre (AeHRC), can predict accurately how many patients will be present at emergency departments, their expected requirements and the number of admissions. “Accurate forecasting will assist many areas of health management from basic bed management and staff resourcing to scheduling elective surgery – not to mention reducing stress for staff and improving patient outcomes,” said David Green, director of emergency medicine at Gold Coast Hospital. The software was developed by clinicians from Gold Coast and Toowoomba Hospitals and Griffith University and Queensland University of Technology, collaborating with AeHRCe. “We’ve shown PAPT vastly improves successful prediction of patient presentation and admission in two hospitals with very different populations,” said David Hansen, research director, AeHRC. “Emergency departments already know there’s a pattern to presentations and admissions, but existing models are very simplistic. PAPT uses historical data to provide an accurate prediction of the expected load on any day,” he added. The prototype PAPT package has a simple interface designed in consultation with those who will ultimately use it every day. “Over the next year we plan to assess and quantify the impact of using the forecasts,” Hansen said. The aim is to turn the prototype package into a product for hospital use. This work was presented at the 2008 Health Informatics Conference held in Melbourne recently.