Flexible Services and Manufacturing Journal

, Volume 24, Issue 4, pp 379–399 | Cite as

Analysis of diagnostic pathways for colon cancer

  • Dario Antonelli
  • Elena Baralis
  • Giulia Bruno
  • Silvia Chiusano
  • Naeem A. Mahoto
  • Caterina Petrigni


Colon cancer is a pathology that benefits largely from an early cure. There are screening guidelines well assessed and overall accepted in several world nations. The question is if they are actually applied in the healthcare practice. The difficulty in the analysis of the application of diagnostic pathways is in the necessity to do a sort of time travel in the past: to chose a group of patients that have the same diagnosis, say colon cancer, and to be able to trace the pathways that led to the diagnosis. By exploiting the ability of data mining techniques to extract sequences from large masses of raw data, it has been possible to reconstruct the actual diagnostic services accessed with larger frequency by the patients and even the sequence of accessed services. The results show that there is a large majority of patients that followed pathways differing from the standard guidelines. The study describes how the database was built, the techniques adopted to extract and group together the data and concludes with an analysis of the diagnostic pathways.


Diagnostic pathways Data mining Sequence extraction Patient flow Decision support systems 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Dario Antonelli
    • 1
  • Elena Baralis
    • 2
  • Giulia Bruno
    • 2
  • Silvia Chiusano
    • 2
  • Naeem A. Mahoto
    • 2
  • Caterina Petrigni
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Production Systems and EconomicsPolitecnico di TorinoTurinItaly
  2. 2.Department of Control and Computer EngineeringPolitecnico di TorinoTurinItaly

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