South Florida Hospital News
Tuesday June 2, 2020

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May 2019 - Volume 15 - Issue 11



A Path for Unleashing Nurse-Led Innovation

I’ve seen firsthand the powerful impact of nurse innovators.

Nurses, the front line to direct patient care, spend significantly more time with an individual patient than the attending physician or subspecialty consultant and can in turn recognize and address issues that may otherwise go unnoticed.
Take Penn Nursing’s Kathy Bowles, for instance. Bowles, PhD, RN, FAAN, noticed a trend: Elderly patients were all too often ending up back in the hospital soon after being discharged.
After conducting research into the discharge process and readmission rates of elderly hospital patients, she pinpointed a group of high-risk variables that predicts which elderly patients are likely to need post-discharge skilled care: their walking ability, length of hospital stays and presence of a caregiver at home.
Her findings evolved into a decision-support methodology to ensure patients have the post-acute support they need after discharge. The methodology then informed a software product, and later spawned a company, to help hospitals determine how to optimize their care coordination.
I’ve worked alongside nurse innovators like Bowles and have seen them create or improve processes and solutions to improve patient care experience and health outcomes at lower costs. Too often, stakeholders in the health system leave nurses completely out of the process—and much to their own detriment.
That’s why, BDO embarked on a mission with Penn Nursing to survey clinical and business leader stakeholders on how they’re elevating nurse innovators today—and where they hope to get the most value from them by 2025.
We found that though both clinical and business leaders value the innovation and clinical acumen skills nurses bring to their organizations at most levels, they don’t yet value them fully at the highest leadership levels.
Changing that is a care imperative and business imperative.
Read “Unleashing Nurse-Led Innovation,” where we outline how health systems and businesses can do so. Visit

Karen Meador, MBA, is a board-certified pediatrician with 25 years of healthcare experience, having served in numerous clinical and administrative leadership roles within health systems and primary care organizations. She is managing director and senior physician executive in The BDO Center for Healthcare Excellence & Innovation and can be reached at

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