How will COVID-19 leave its mark on health care?

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Hospitals and doctors have been forced to become more efficient to accommodate COVID-19. Lt. Cmdr. Richard Maiatico, a perioperative nurse (left), helps surgical technologist Jonathan Rohlf (right) prepare for surgery in one of 12 operating rooms aboard hospital ship USNS Mercy, April 2, 2020. Photo credit: Navy Medicine/Public Domain.

The coronavirus pandemic has revealed the worst of America’s broken health care system. But there is an unexpected silver lining, according to Dr. Amol Navathe of the University of Pennsylvania. 

“The way that the health system has shifted in the past three months shows that we’re capable of the type of change we need to save American health care,” he says.

Hospitals and doctors have been forced to become more efficient to accommodate COVID-19. Unnecessary surgeries and procedures have been postponed.  

The catch: Elective procedures generate the revenue needed for providers to stay in business. Navathe says what’s needed are investments in tech. He also suggests, “Do things in a different way that has not been supported by the existing financial model.” 

KCRW also hears from James Blake — a humanitarian aid worker and journalist — about the dire risk facing those in fragile countries and conflict zones. A recent International Rescue Committee report warns that the world risks up to 1 billion cases and 3.2 million deaths from COVID-19 across countries such as Afghanistan, Syria and Yemen. Blake explains why aiding these regions is crucial to halting the pandemic.

Credits

Guests:
Amol Navathe - Director of the Healthcare Transformation Institute at the University of Pennsylvania - @AmolNavathe, James M Blake - Journalist, analyst, and advisor to numerous NGOs and businesses operating in fragile countries - @JamesMBlake68, Deborah Netburn - Science and features writer at the Los Angeles Times - @DeborahNetburn

Host:
Warren Olney

Producer:
Andrea Brody