Patient flow forecasting can have a significant impact on patient outcomes. Specialist forecasting software can
Greater potential for uncertainty
The further out we need to forecast, the greater the potential is for unpredictable events to erode accuracy. In the case of a chronic disease like asthma, there is little variability at the market level since patient numbers remain relatively stable year on year.
The complexity lies in the difficulty of developing and launching new products for these types of diseases. According to this report by the Congressional Budget Office, just 12 percent of drugs entering clinical trials are approved by the FDA.
With studies showing estimated average R&D costs per new drug ranging from less than $1 billion to more than $2 billion, forecasters have the challenging responsibility of trying to predict which competitive products might enter the market and how successful they might be, in addition to a web of other variables.
Political and internal motivations.
One more controversial factor that forecasters should be aware of is any potential internal or political motivations that may impact the accuracy of the forecast. The internal stakeholders of a certain drug may push for an overly optimistic forecast in order to secure ongoing funding for their research. Alternatively, companies may be driven by a desire to convince shareholders that they have a strong pipeline for new products.
For example, one company we worked with pushed internally to develop a female sexual dysfunction drug with very strong forecasts, positioning it as the next Viagra. The product was sold on to another company who later discontinued development when they discovered it was not a viable option to bring to market.
A final variable to consider is the type of data being used for long-range forecasting and how this information is captured. Reliance on market research can be a limiting factor, especially since physicians tend to overestimate their likelihood to prescribe particular products.
Considering how to obtain evidence-based rather than opinion-based data is one way to increase the accuracy of forecasting.