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Table 4 Methodological and conceptual issues in forecasting models

From: Physician supply forecast: better than peering in a crystal ball?

Items Issues
Model units • Headcounts do not reflect variation in effective workforce.
• FTE measured in working hours can translate into a variable effective workforce.
• FTE defined in reference to the most active physician category makes the assumption that the activity level in that category is relevant.
Data quality • Routine data are useful, but provide generally limited information.
• Various data sources coexist, with inconsistencies between them.
• Qualitative data for in-depth understanding of trends is often lacking.
Categories of resources • Computation of human resources requirements by specialty obviates professional interactions and skill mix.
• Assessing skill-mix requirements is a complex task and documentation is often lacking.
Supply parameters • Information other than age, sex and services volume is often unavailable.
• Productivity is sensitive to the working and societal environment and is rapidly evolving.
Demand parameters • Assessing the impact of new technologies, emerging pathologies and demographic changes requires a large quantity of data and expertise that are often unavailable.
• Level and mode of health care utilization are sensitive to the environment and are rapidly evolving.
Modeling • Deterministic models are likely to generate inaccuracies without providing a means to evaluate them.
• Regression modeling with stochastic simulation can be innovative in the HRH field but background is lacking
• Regular updating of data is paramount but resource-consuming.