PHILADELPHIA (September 25, 2018) - Kathryn H. Bowles, PhD, RN, FAAN, FACMI, the van Ameringen Chair in Nursing Excellence and a Professor in Penn Nursing's Department of Biobehavioral Health Sciences, will receive the 15th annual Claire M. Fagin Distinguished Researcher Award. The biennial award honors the best scholarly qualities that Dr. Fagin, the School's third Dean, exemplified. It is given to a Penn Nursing faculty member, or a graduate from the School's doctoral program, who has made a distinguished contribution to nursing scholarship. Bowles will deliver the lecture 'From Inquiry to Innovation: How a Clinical Question Became a Business Opportunity' during the October 25th event (Fagin Hall, 3:00-5:00 PM).
With funding from multiple National Institutes of Health (NIH) grants, Bowles discovered a unique set of high-risk factors, ranging from a patient's walking ability, to length of hospital stay, to having an in-home caregiver, that determined which older patients were most likely to need continued skilled care after discharge. After 10 years of research on these high-risk factors, Bowles and her interdisciplinary team developed and validated a decision-support methodology that identified patients who need post-acute care, ensuring that high-risk patients were monitored and received adequate post-acute care plans when they went home. 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 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.
Throughout her career, 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 transitional 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 using electronic monitoring and technologically-advanced devices that help patients monitor pulse rates, oxygen levels, weight, blood sugar and other health factors at home.
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.
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