Forum Explores Innovation as a Way to Improve Nation's Health Care System | Connecticut Public Radio

Forum Explores Innovation as a Way to Improve Nation's Health Care System

Jul 9, 2014

The speed of sequencing genes has increased by six orders of magnitude in the last 25 years, according to Dr. Edison Liu.
Credit The Jackson Laboratory

Connecticut Congressman John Larson sponsored a health care forum on Monday at the legislative office building in Hartford. 

"Improving Our Health Care System Through Science and Innovation" was a chance for a panel of prominent health care leaders to tout how innovations in their area of expertise are saving lives and pulling down the cost of health care.

Jennifer Jackson, President and CEO of the Connecticut Hospital Association, said a comprehensive plan implemented in 2012 to eliminate preventable errors at Connecticut hospitals has been very successful. "We're improving care," she said. "We're making it safer. We're making it more patient-centered, and in the process, we are improving the quality, and reducing the cost."

Maine-based The Jackson Laboratory will be opening a genomic medicine institute at Farmington's UConn Health Center in October. Dr. Edison Liu, president and CEO, said advancements in personalized medicine are happening at an incredible pace.

"Just ten years ago," Liu said, "the cost of sequencing the BRCA1 gene -- if you have a breast cancer, and you're wondering about susceptibility -- one gene was over $4,000. We can easily do 400 genes for about the same price, and at much deeper coverage, which means we do 500-fold for each gene to be really secure."

Congressman Larson said the next health care forum will possibly focus on homeopathic and natural medicine, and its role in reducing health care costs.