Minn. Cardiologist Aims to Change Health Care, Saving Lives and Money

Updated: 01/09/2013 7:46 AM KSTP.com By: Tim Sherno

A Minnesota cardiologist is hoping to dramatically lower the incidents of cardiovascular disease, deaths and costs with an inexpensive series of tests designed to diagnose heart disease before symptoms appear.

Dr. Jay Cohn is Professor of Medicine at the University of Minnesota Medical School, and the Director of the Rasmussen Center for Cardio Vascular Disease Prevention. Dr. Cohn has developed a series of inexpensive tests that can be administered in an hour or less.

The cornerstone of the tests uses a medical device developed at the University of Minnesota that is able to detect the arterial damage that signals heart disease. The device can detect problems long before a patient would experience any symptoms. 

According to Dr. Cohn, the technology and approach could transform healthcare, "We believe we are in a position now to identify early disease that would allow us to intervene with treatment which will prevent heart attacks and strokes until the age of 100."

Dr. Cohn says another important component of this new approach to healthcare is availability. As marketing experiment, the tests are available in a retail setting in the Minneapolis Skyways as storefront called “Heartsavers.” Dr. Cohn say the initial series of tests can separate those who need immediate treatment from those who should make lifestyle adjustments to those who have no sign of cardiovascular disease at all, "The ability to discriminate between those three groups... is something that no other methodology has been able to do."

Dr. Cohn says the cost of the series of 4 initial tests is $101 dollars, "We hope to spread this concept around the twin cities, and then move around the country."