Leaving Epic for the Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation, Vikas Chowdhry has strong vision for impressive data science team

Dallas, TX – Parkland Center for Clinical Innovation (PCCI) announces that Vikas Chowdhry has joined the organization to lead its nine person data science team. Chowdhry comes to PCCI after 15 years at Epic Systems Corp., a Wisconsin-based electronic medical records software firm, where he most recently served as head of Data Science and Machine Learning for Population Health.

“I’m very excited to welcome Vikas to the PCCI family. He is a proven leader with deep data science expertise and broad national experience. The PCCI data science team’s expertise, training, and experience are impressive and somewhat unique in healthcare,” said PCCI’s President and CEO Steve Miff, PhD. “He will be working with a renowned group of clinicians and other healthcare professionals who have strong expertise in informatics and will ensure that our vision of creating a world of connected communities so every health outcome is positive becomes reality. “

Chowdhry began his career at Epic as a software developer where he was able to improve productivity by 15 percent by creating a new reporting tool to reduce inefficiencies. He also served as a product lead for various service lines. In his most recent role Chowdhry drove the strategy and vision for achieving superior population health outcomes through machine learning. Prior to Epic, he served as software developer at CGI Inc. in Mumbai, India, developing billing applications for Target Corp., which led to improved turnaround times for end-of-day processing.

“Steve Jobs used to say that computers are a bicycle for our minds that augment human ability,” said Chowdhry. “ Clinical insights, generated through thoughtful application of AI driven algorithms on meaningful data hold a similar promise. These algorithms are increasingly going to become more precise and personalized. PCCI is already helping clinicians, family caregivers and patients themselves to take more timely and efficient actions to keep people healthy, and, when sick, help them recover faster. PCCI’s ability to mind meld clinical and data science expertise will be critical in determining whether this promise is fulfilled. “

PCCI’s data science team has more than 50 years of collective experience in cognitive computing, artificial intelligence, and advanced analytics. In addition to Chowdhry, the data science team members include:

Shelley Chang, MD, PhD – Physician Scientist
Ramon Depaz, Data Architect
Albert Karam, MS – Data Analytics Supervisor
Boryana Manz, PhD – Data Scientist
Weiwei Ouyang, PhD – Data Scientist
Zhijie “Jet” Wang, MS – Data Scientist
David Watkins, MS – Data Scientist
Donghui Wu, PhD, MBA – VP Technology

Chowdhry is joined by Donghui Wu, PhD, PCCI’s vice president of Technology and a team of highly experienced and skilled healthcare data scientists. Before joining PCCI, Dr. Wu led the research and development teams at Blue Health Intelligence and LexisNexis | Health Care. He also led predictive models for Pinpoint Clinical Insight System (PCIS), a hospital quality outcome assessment, physician performance evaluation, and regulatory reporting system.

Dr. Wu said, “I have been very fortunate for the last 12-plus years to devote myself to improving healthcare through predictive modeling, machine learning and big data analytics for both providers and payers. I am encouraged that analytics and data science are playing a larger and broader role in improving healthcare delivery.”

During their careers the PCCI data scientists have implemented many outstanding and innovative programs:

  • Most recently Boryana Manz, a PhD biophysicist from UC Berkeley, used different data sources to build a coherent model for identifying patients at risk for an adverse drug event who could benefit from a pharmacy consult. This model, PARADE, is now live at Parkland Health & Hospital System.
  • David Watkins, MS, previously data scientist at IBM Watson Health, built a predictive model for trauma patients’ mortality that tracks physiology and procedures during and after admission.  The PCCI model predicts trauma mortality events with more than 90 percent accuracy, a substantial improvement over existing triage risk scores and published models of trauma mortality.
  • Prior to joining PCCI, Zhijie “Jet” Wang, MS, successfully built advanced algorithms and predictive models at leading national health systems including Carolinas Health System and University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.
  • Jet, in collaboration with Shelley Chang,MD, PhD, Vibin Roy, MD, and Donghui Wu, are currently building time-sensitive models to predict non-present on admission (POA) sepsis cases. This model will be used to identify and alert clinical teams of patients that are at high risk of developing non-POA sepsis.
  • Albert Karam, MS, and Weiwei Ouywang, PhD,  are part of the Parkland Community Health Plan (PCHP)  project which developed a predictive analytic model to identify at-risk pediatric asthma patients and provided real-time actionable data to case managers at PCHP and direct alerts into the physician office EHR systems. This program also utilized an engagement texting program that drives patient self-care, education and appointment reminders.  The program generated over $4.4M in savings and decreased annual rates of asthma emergency department visits by over 30 percent.  

“The vision for our data science team is to develop advanced algorithms and research that are innovative and clinically valuable and can be deployed at point of care to improve the health of individuals in the communities we serve.”  Chowdhry shared,  “That’s why I am so excited about joining the data science team at PCCI.”

About PCCI
PCCI is an independent, not-for-profit healthcare intelligence organization focused on creating connected communities through data science and machine learning. We combine deep clinical expertise with advanced analytics and artificial intelligence to enable the delivery of precision medicine at the point of care. PCCI is a recipient of more than $50 million in grants directed at developing and deploying patient centric cutting edge technologies connecting communities, Parkland Health & Hospital System, and beyond.

Lindsey Nace
Marketing and Communications