Professor of Nursing and van Ameringen Chair in Nursing Excellence

The focus of Kathryn H. Bowles’s research began with a question: Why were so many older adults returning to the hospital after being discharged?


A former critical care nurse, she observed that many times patients were not prepared physically, did not have enough knowledge to take care of themselves at home, and were not getting referred to the necessary post-acute care, such as skilled home care.

With funding from multiple NIH grants, Dr. 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, Dr. 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, Dr. Bowles co-founded RightCare Solutions in 2012, the first nursing business seeded by Upstart, Penn’s technology transfer host.   

Through RightCare Solutions, Dr. Bowles and a team of experts incorporated the  “Discharge Decision Support System” or D2S2, developed by her research team, 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.

“My research on information technology improves health care of older adults, particularly in relation to discharge planning and transitional care.”


  • PhD, University of Pennsylvania , 1996
  • MSN, Villanova University, 1990
  • BSN, Edinboro University of Pennsylvania, 1978