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Health IT tool to reduce hospital readmissions identifies vulnerable patients earlier

A healthcare IT program aimed at reducing hospital readmissions by more effectively coordinating vulnerable patients’ hospital discharge and follow-up care has been utilized by four hospital pilot partners. RightCare Solutions, developed by University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing associate professor Kathy Bowles and Eric Heil, a second-year Wharton MBA student with Domain Associates, a venture […]

A healthcare IT program aimed at reducing hospital readmissions by more effectively coordinating vulnerable patients’ hospital discharge and follow-up care has been utilized by four hospital pilot partners.

RightCare Solutions, developed by University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing associate professor Kathy Bowles and Eric Heil, a second-year Wharton MBA student with Domain Associates, a venture capital investor in the life sciences sector,  is one of three finalists for Janssen Healthcare Innovation’s Connected Care Challenge and made its presentation at Janssen’s first Demo Day. The company also won Wharton’s business plan competition last month.

Its D2S2 software focuses on identifying vulnerable patients when they’re admitted rather than when they’re discharged to reduce the chances of missing patients.  It uses a scoring system to identify patients who should be referred for post-acute services to prevent readmission. The questions are administered by nurses and discharge planners, and patients are referred for post-acute care support if their responses trigger an alert.

It recently completed a study with pilot partner the Hospital of the University of Pennsylvania and has others underway at Jefferson University Hospitals, New York University Langone Medical Center and Johns Hopkins Hospital.

Bowles secured $5 million in funding from the National Institutes of Health to help develop the program.

With hospitals facing cuts in reimbursements for readmissions next year as part of healthcare reform legislation, companies are increasingly taking an interest in addressing the issue. Janssen’s innovation challenge was designed to tackle the problem of hospital readmissions by rewarding companies for coming up with novel ideas.

Kim Park, a founding partner with Janssen Innovation, said helping people transition from hospitals to home is one area it has identified where technology could be used to improve patient outcomes. It is also looking at ways to improve patient compliance with rehabilitation when heart attack victims are discharged from the hospital. Later in the second quarter, it is planning to launch an app to improve patient compliance for people with HIV, who risk serious health consequences if they miss their medication.

In addition to RightCare Solutions, finalists Cara Health and Care Rocket received $50,000. The winner will receive $100,000 to develop their concept to commercialization and is scheduled to be announced May 23.

Kathy Bowles of RightCare Solutions