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Kathryn Bowles, Director of VNSNY Research Center, Receives Award

Kathryn Bowles, RN, PhD, Director of VNSNY Research CenterDr. Kathryn Bowles, the Director of the VNSNY Center for Home Care Policy & Research and van Ameringen Professor in Nursing Excellence at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, has been named the winner of the 2017 Harriet H. Werley Award. This award is presented annually by the Nursing Informatics Work Group within the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) to the lead author of a nurse-authored paper judged to have made the greatest contribution to nursing informatics in the preceding year.

Dr. Bowles had been nominated for the award based on a paper submitted to the AMIA in the spring of 2017, describing an algorithm she and her University of Pennsylvania colleagues developed for assessing which patients in acute care will benefit from post-acute care services, and what level of care they should receive. (Click here to see the paper.)

The study, which was funded by a five-year, $3 million NIH grant and is being published in the AMIA symposium proceedings, gathered electronic health records from patients aged 55 and older in six U.S. hospitals who had been hospitalized for common diagnoses such as pneumonia, atrial fibrillation, and kidney failure. Next, the researchers had teams of outside experts review the data and make referral recommendations based on various patient characteristics in the electronic records, then conducted a statistical analysis of their recommendations to establish a unified set of referral criteria.

“In terms of determining who should be referred to post-acute care and whether they should be referred to home care or a skilled nursing or rehab facility, two of the most important factors identified by our expert evaluators were how well someone is managing their activities of daily living, and what level of caregiver support they have at home,” notes Dr. Bowles. “Our ultimate goal is to help streamline and standardize the process of referring patients to post-discharge care by incorporating these factors into a single algorithm that hospitals can use to guide that referral process.”

Dr. Bowles discovered she was a finalist for the award after arriving at the AMIA’s Annual Symposium, held in early November, 2017, in Washington DC—“I heard about it in the hallways,” she says. Two days later, at the symposium’s concluding ceremony, she heard her name announced as this year’s Werley Award winner.

“It was a complete surprise,” adds Dr. Bowles. “I’m especially thrilled to get this award because Harriet Werley was one of the world’s first nurse-informaticians. Her life was dedicated to showing how nursing data can be used to improve patient care, and that’s exactly what our paper did.”