Prabodi Senevirathna

Prabodi Senevirathna
Prabodi Senevirathna, 2022 Doctoral Academy Fellow

Quantifying and Mitigating Digital Overdiagnosis

Dr Daniel Capurro
Dr Douglas Pires

School / Faculty:
School of Computing and Information Systems
Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology

PhD Details

My PhD research focuses on developing data-driven algorithms involving Machine Learning / Artificial Intelligence to quantify and mitigate digital overdiagnosis generated by digital diagnostic algorithms. This involves extracting data from a clinical repository (MIMIC) and applying supervised and unsupervised machine learning methods to answer the research questions. If you are in doubt about what overdiagnosis is, below is a quick overview.

Advances in Machine Learning (ML)/ Artificial Intelligence (AI) tools promise to revolutionize how we diagnose patients. However, this must include a clear understanding of digital health innovations, benefits, and potential adverse effects, mainly when applied to healthier segments of the population. One such negative effect is “Overdiagnosis”. Overdiagnosis is not a false positive; it is a condition that emerges from finding an asymptomatic abnormality that meets existing disease criteria but would have never caused a problem to the individual if left undiagnosed. Overdiagnosis has been extensively described for traditional diagnostic tools and is an emergent theme in digital health. Access to data from healthier individuals via smartphones, smartwatches, and social networks, along with new ML methods, can generate cases of Digital Overdiagnosis by unnecessarily labelling people as sick.

Q & A

Why did you decide to do a PhD?
I thoroughly enjoyed the research component in my undergraduate degree and hence I wanted to pursue my career as a researcher after I graduated. I am passionate about doing research and even a little advancement in my research makes me happy and confident. I believe undertaking a PhD research gives us more freedom and space to look at a specific problem in different aspects. I’m working on a highly interdisciplinary project as my PhD research, and so far, I’ve enjoyed my work with supportive supervisors and group mates.

What do you enjoy reading?
Aside from keeping up with reading the latest research articles in my field, I enjoy reading fiction / novels.

What do you enjoy doing when you're not working on your PhD?
I love to travel, explore new places and food, play badminton and swimming (btw I’m not a good swimmer, and still learning)

Name one fun fact about you.
I’m a huge dog lover. But when I was a kid, I had 12 cats in my home with no dogs.