Kathryn H. Bowles, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, is the van Ameringen Chair in Nursing Excellence and a Professor in Penn Nursing’s Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences. Throughout her career, Dr. Bowles’ research has focused on the use of information technology and health informatics to improve healthcare for at-risk older adults and support healthcare providers’ efforts to improve planning and provide post-acute care following hospital discharge, thereby reducing hospital readmissions. Her ongoing studies, funded primarily by the NIH, include the development of decision support tools to determine the best site of care for those needing post-discharge services; telehealth technology applications; the effect of home care and post-acute referrals on patient outcomes; and evaluation of electronic health records. Another program of research for Bowles involves the identification and care of high-risk patients entering home health care such as sepsis survivors and promoting early visit patterns.
With funding from multiple National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants, Bowles and her interdisciplinary team developed and validated a decision-support methodology that identifies patients who need post-acute care, ensuring that high-risk patients are monitored and receive adequate post-acute care plans when discharged. To put her risk-scoring tool into practice, she co-founded RightCare Solutions in 2012, the first nursing business seeded by Upstart, the University of Pennsylvania’s technology transfer host.
Through RightCare Solutions, Bowles and a team of experts incorporated the “Discharge Decision Support System” or D2S2, into a software product distributed nationally that helps hospitals assess patients for post-acute care needs, optimizes workflow, and ultimately lowers the number of readmissions. In 2015, naviHealth acquired RightCare Solutions.
For her significant contributions to nursing and to health care, Bowles has been named a Fellow and Edge Runner by the American Academy of Nursing; a Fellow of the American College of Medical Informatics; was inducted into the Sigma Theta Tau International Nurse Researcher Hall of Fame; and has been recognized with many other research, practice, and mentoring awards. She received her PhD from the University of Pennsylvania; her Master of Science in Nursing from Villanova University; and her Bachelor of Science in Nursing from Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. She is a member of the NewCourtland Center for Transitions and Health and a Senior Fellow in the Leonard David Institute of Health Economics. Dr. Bowles is Director of the Center for Home Care Policy & Research at the Visiting Nurse Service of New York.