One year into the COVID-19 pandemic, health system leaders continue to confront an extremely volatile operating environment. Effectively responding to the pandemic’s financial and operational shocks requires a deep understanding of the factors that influence current and future demand, from multiple waves of COVID infections and hospitalizations to fluctuating interest in other healthcare services from wary consumers.
Prior to the pandemic, San Diego, California-based Scripps Health was already employing a quarterly rolling forecasting approach, after moving away from traditional annual budgeting in 2018. But while rolling forecasting helped better prepare Scripps for the turmoil of the pandemic’s early days, system leaders soon realized they needed more granular information to model future demand and guide decision-making. Scripps has since added a series of new volume-related inputs to their rolling forecasts, including insights on the state of the local economy, surveys on consumer’ willingness to return to healthcare facilities, and even cellular phone data to better understand local mobility trends.
Loucas Koutoufidis, Corporate Vice President and Controller for Scripps Health, and John Wong, Director of Corporate Financial Planning and Reporting, recently joined Kaufman Hall to discuss how Scripps has employed emerging demand modeling techniques to realize the full power of rolling forecasting in unprecedented times.