KATHRYN BOWLES, PHD, RN, FAAN
van Ameringen Chair in Nursing Excellence;
Professor of Nursing, University of Pennsylvania
School of Nursing
Dr. Bowles holds a BSN from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, an MSN from Villanova, and a PhD from the University of Pennsylvania. In addition to her position at the Penn School of Nursing, she is the Beatrice Renfield Visiting Scholar for the Visiting Nurse Service of New York, a Senior Fellow in the Leonard Davis Institute, a faculty member in the Ackoff Center for Advancement of Systems Approaches, and Director of the Health Informatics Minor. Dr. Bowles leads a program of research in the use of information technology to improve healthcare for elders and support healthcare provider’s decision-making regarding hospital discharge referrals for elders.
More than a decade of funded research to Dr. Kathryn Bowles’ interdisciplinary team revealed both a lack of standards and great variation in the referral decision making process of hospital discharge planners for older patients from acute care to post-acute care (PAC). With over 13 million older adults dependent on referral decisions made by discharge planners each year, many older adults were discharged home to self-care with multiple unmet needs and risk factors for poor outcomes. The Bowles’ team demonstrated that patients who needed post-acute care but didn’t receive it were readmitted five times more often than similarly situated patients who did receive post-acute care. Armed with this troubling data, Dr. Bowles’ team obtained NIH funding from the National Institute of Nursing Research to build and test a solution.
Dr. Bowles developed and designed Discharge Decision Support System (D2S2) is transforming the way clinicians identify high-risk patients and make referral decisions about who needs post-acute care. D2S2 was developed by a multi-disciplinary team of researchers at the NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health at Penn Nursing led by Kathryn Bowles, who holds the Ralston House Endowed Term Chair in Gerontological Nursing. Through Penn’s UpStart program, Bowles and co-inventor Mary Naylor, the Marian S. Ware Professor in Gerontology in Penn Nursing and director of NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health, licensed the D2S2 to RightCare Solutions, a company co-founded by Penn, Bowles and Wharton MBA graduate Eric Heil, who serves as the company’s CEO.