Development of aIM and SiAM modelling tools

NSW Department of Health, 2010 and 2012

In 2010, the Statewide Services Development Branch of the NSW Department of Health engaged Health Policy Analysis to critically review and update the methodology for estimating and modelling future demand for acute inpatient activity across NSW to 2036. Health Policy Analysis was awarded the project due to the fact that the skills and experience of the team members undertaking the project aligned with the Department’s view that the project was more than a statistical exercise. In addition to the strong analytical and modelling techniques, Health Policy Analysis provided expertise in policy analysis, literature reviews and stakeholder consultation, particularly involving clinicians.

For this project, Health Policy Analysis:

The final deliverables included a report, software, a user guide, and training materials. The intention was for the software tool (aIM2010) to be used by planners, and contains the projections as well as allowing users to model alternative scenarios to those assumed by the ‘base case’ in the model.

Health Policy Analysis was later re-engaged in 2010 to update the Department’s subacute inpatient projection modelling tool – SiAM. The update of this tool aligns with the Statewide Services Development Branch’s objective to provide health services in NSW with the best available information for planning decisions in that it aims to incorporate the latest demographic, clinical practice and demand trends available.

To address this, Health Policy Analysis undertook a literature and document review of models of care and emerging trends, and also consulted with clinicians and health service planners about clinical practice changes affecting subacute care. As with the acute care projections, it was recognised in the planning phase of this project that a statistical exercise alone would not be sufficient in developing the subacute projections. Therefore, opportunities for clinical input were built into various stages of the project. The final deliverables of the project included a report detailing the project and outcomes including final projections, along with the software tool (SiAM) and associated documentation. SiAM is a medium- to long-term projection tool that allows users (typically health service planners in conjunction with clinicians) to model future demand for sub and non acute (collectively referred to as subacute) inpatient care.

Although the final results are presented in a software tool, SiAM is not simply an exercise in software building, or statistical analysis. It involves consideration of the multitude of factors that impact on the likely future use of sub and non acute inpatient services as determined through the project. As a software tool, SiAM is an interactive PC-based tool that provides ‘base case’ projections, as well as allowing users to develop ‘scenarios’ to model the impact of planned changes to service delivery.

Health Policy Analysis was subsequently re-engaged in 2012 to update both aIM and SiAM.