Healthline: Inventing the future of health

BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The average Louisiana household spends 40 percent of its income on healthcare. Lowering the cost is one of the main topics at a healthcare town hall meeting held this week in Baton Rouge.

Healthcare experts from around the country are at Pennington Biomedical Research Center, hoping to invent the future of health.

The conversations may not be the most riveting, but they are critically important. The Atlantic Magazine sponsored the event along with the Blue Cross shield. The word of the day was data and how it can help.

The question asked is what do we know now that we didn't know five years ago?

One expert says there is a huge disparity in the cost of care based on the regions of the state people live in. A lot of money is spent in Louisiana, in some places more than others, but without the desired outcome.

One step to reduce the cost is getting people the right kind of care. Oftentimes it is not in the ER.

An initiative called "Million Hearts" hopes to prevent one million heart attacks and strokes nationwide by 2017 through two main pathways: a series of public health interventions to improve access to smoke-free air, lower sodium intake and eliminate trans fat from the diet. On the healthcare side, Million Hearts wants excellence in the ABCs. That means aspirin for those who need it, blood pressure control, cholesterol management and smoking cessation.

Experts say the data is essential and pointed them in the right direction. "We know that improving the ABCs for people and getting rid of trans fat and sodium will actually bring about a least 1 million fewer events every year.

The town hall meeting was streamed live to audiences in New Orleans, Lafayette, Shreveport and Monroe. That same technology is used by New York company Abilto to stream social workers and behavioral coaches into the homes of rural patients with limited access to healthcare.

It is a very old-fashioned approach to bring healthcare back to the people at home.

If you are interested in the in-home healthcare, contact your insurance company and ask about Abilto or visit

Copyright 2014 WAFB. All rights reserved.