Data Mining in Pathology

Event Date
Thursday, 8 June 2017


Dr Tony Badrick, Chief Executive, Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia Quality Assurance Programs (RCPAQAP). View the seminar video.


The interpretation of pathology tests, particularly those involved with screening is complex and relies on an understanding of the diagnostic sensitivity and specificity of the test and the prevalence of diseases that the test can predict in the community. Tests become more predictive if the pretest probability for disease can be improved. This could be achieved by better history, more specific tests or by a better understanding of the interrelationships, if they exist, between the routine tests which may be used at the screening episode. Some of these interrelationships are well known, for example urea and creatinine, AST and ALT. These tests together reinforce the presence of a possible disease state whilst each can provide some additional information about that disease. Finding more subtle relationships amongst routine tests requires more machine-learning elaborate techniques including recursive partitioning based decision models and decision tree machine learning.

Recursive partitioning based decision models have been applied to medical knowledge domains, and decision tree machine learning provides advantages of applicability to Gaussian or non-Gaussian data regardless of distribution, as well as multiple decision boundaries. Support vector machines (SVM) provide a very powerful classification and regression pattern recognition tool. In this talk we will explore some of the tools, their application to pathology databases and the issues that limit the application of these tools to routine pathology data. We will illustrate some of these techniques using some data obtained from routine pathology testing performed in Australia.

Speaker profile

Dr Tony Badrick was Associate Professor, Faculty of Health Sciences and Medicine at Bond University for 4 years before becoming the CEO of the RCPAQAP in 2015. In the twenty-one years from 1990, he was Manager of the Biochemistry department and then Laboratory Manager at Sullivan Nicolaides Pathology, Brisbane. Between 1973 and 1990, he worked at the Biochemistry Department of the Princess Alexandra Hospital, Brisbane. He is a visiting Fellow at the John Curtin School of Medical Research at the Australian National University, also at Australian Institute for Health Innovation Macquarie University and an honorary Associate Professor in Biomedical Science at Bond University.

He was President of the Australasian Association of Clinical Biochemists (2003-2007), is Chair of the Education and Laboratory Management Committee of the Asian Pacific Federation of Clinical Biochemistry, Vice President of the Australian Institute of Medical Scientists and currently the deputy Chief Examiner and Chair of the Faculty of Science of the Royal College of Pathologists of Australasia.

Tony has also had published over 120 Papers/ Abstracts and one book chapter (2 editions) in Health care management.  He was consultant and adviser to WHO in 2007 and 2012; adviser to the Department of Health and Ageing on the Scientific Workforce in Pathology, and Best Practice in Phlebotomy; and is Chair of the Document Review and Liaison Committee of the National Pathology Accreditation Advisory Committee.

Seminar details

Date: Thursday 8th June 2017

Time: 12pm - 1pm

Venue: Seminar room, Level 1, 75 Talavera Road, Macquarie University

Chair: Professor Andrew Georgiou, Centre for Health Systems and Safety Research, AIHI

Please register for this seminar