Why America’s health care system failed so tragically during the Covid pandemic, and how the forces unleashed by the crisis could be just the medicine for its long-term cure.
Covid patients overwhelmed American hospitals. The world’s most advanced and expensive health care system crumbled, short of supplies and personnel. The U.S. lost more patients than any other nation during the pandemic. How could this happen? And how could this disaster lead to a more resilient, rational and equitable health care system in the future?
How Covid Crashed the System answers these questions with compelling stories and wide-angle analysis. Dr. David Nash, a founder of the discipline of population health, and Charles Wohlforth, an award-winning science writer, pick up the pieces of the Covid disaster like investigators of a crashed airliner, finding the root causes of America’s failure to cope, and delivering surprising answers that may reorient how you think about your own health.
From the broadest, cultural flaws that disabled our health system to particular, institutional issues, America’s defenses fell due to racism and poverty, combined with a culture of misguided individualism that tore communities apart. We suffered from failed leadership and crippled public health agencies, and hospitals built to make money from services, not deliver health.
But How Covid Crashed the System goes beyond analyzing those problems, providing hope for change and fundamental improvement in ways that will transform Americans’ health. Covid’s market disruption encouraged new technology that allows for remote health care. Integrated health organizations gained ground, working to manage clients’ total wellness from cradle to grave. Covid also accelerated changes in medical education, to make doctor training more equitable and better aligned to the skills we need. And Covid forced employers to accept responsibility for their workers’ health in a new way, making them partners in this new movement.
Using systemic analysis of the Covid crash, the authors find reasons to hope. America’s health care establishment resisted reform for decades, mired in waste and avoidable errors. Now, the pandemic crisis has exposed its flaws for all to see, creating the opportunities for systemic changes. Even without new laws or government policies, America is moving toward a transformed health system responsible for our wellness. How Covid Crashed the System tells that story.
David B. Nash, MD, MBA, is the Founding Dean Emeritus of the Jefferson College of Population Health and the Dr. Raymond C. and Doris N. Grandon Professor of Health Policy, on the campus of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia, PA. Dr. Nash has been on the Faculty at Jefferson for 32 years. He is a nationally acclaimed expert in quality and safety of medical care, health reform, the Covid 19 pandemic and medical education. He resides in suburban Philadelphia.
Charles Wohlforth is the award-winning author of more than ten books and numerous articles and columns, former elected official, and non-profit leader. His books include work about science, technology and the environment, politics and history, travel, and as-told-to biography. He has won the L.A. Times Book Prize for science and technology and the Best of the West award for the best newspaper columnist in the western U.S. He lives in central New Jersey and spends summers at a remote coastal site in Alaska.
An expert overview of America’s dysfunctional health care system and good ideas for fixing it. Since the Covid-19 pandemic started, the U.S. has suffered the most deaths of any nation, with a far higher percentage among the elderly, racial minorities, and the poor. In a passionate but lucid, fact-based polemic, Nash, a professor of health policy, and journalist Wohlforth point out the primary cause of this dire situation: a wildly expensive, technology-obsessed, fee-for-service system that emphasizes treating disease over prevention, public health, and addressing the socio-economic determinants of health.... Nash and Wohlforth deliver an intelligent prescription for reform; thankfully, many of its features are already in progress. Convincing advice for reform that should persuade the persuadable.
Global pandemics are always disruptive, but also represent wonderful opportunity to learn by taking advantage of the crisis invoked. The authors have delivered an excellent analysis on how the current pandemic created several learning opportunities because of the multitude of failures within the US healthcare system that became widely evident. This analysis of a broken, multi-level system is profoundly insightful and worth the read all by itself. However, the authors take it a step further by also providing a series of superb recommendations on how best to move the current US healthcare system forward to an improved future state for the betterment of the American population. All who are interested in learning more on how to significantly improve American healthcare should read this well-crafted and highly articulate treatise.
An insightful read highlighting the healthcare system’s challenges, along with smart and thoughtful solutions for a better path forward. A great guide for anyone interested in understanding the inner workings of the system and desiring to make it better for future generations.
Covid-19 shined a bright light on the American healthcare system. On one hand, it spotlighted the heroism and dedication of the doctors and nurses who provide the medical care. On the other hand, it exposed the failures on the national stage of the elected officials and governmental agencies who had the power and responsibility to lead and a medical culture that allowed the errors to be ignored. This expose tells all of these stories and illuminates a path to address the problems without losing what is most valuable in medical practice. It is a must read for anyone fearful about the next pandemic that is waiting to happen
This book does an unparalleled job of explaining what went wrong as it relates to COVID and healthcare delivery. It will take dedication to the principles of responsible innovation to ensure we do not repeat the same mistakes
The Covid-19 pandemic exposed breathtaking flaws in the U.S. healthcare system, flaws that contributed to the deaths of over one million Americans. But the tragedy also catalyzed innovations and fresh approaches. In this timely book, Nash and Wohlforth offer a clear-eyed vision of how Covid helped point the way toward vital reforms in the healthcare system. Following their advice will help us create a higher performing system – and leave us far better prepared for the next pandemic threat.
As the authors lay out so well, the pandemic may have uncovered many deficiencies in the American healthcare system, but through the sharing of their insights, they also reveal the very blueprint for a better system for tomorrow, not just to battle future pandemics, but to improve health overall.
David presents an expert’s view of how a pandemic exposed a systemically fragmented healthcare system. He reveals how the pandemic further uncovered the counterproductive hierarchical culture within healthcare, the urgency to train professionals across the patient care continuum to function as teams, the undeniable shift toward active patient management of their health and healthcare, the crucial need to embrace technological innovations, and to make healthcare accessible to all by fostering equality in public health policies.
This is a fascinating, well-researched, and gripping account of one of the most important stories of our time: How the Covid-19 pandemic defeated America's health defenses and caused so much preventable loss. But while that analysis is crystal clear, the book's positive insights may be even more important, because 'How Covid Crashed the System' shows an inspiring path to improve our nation's health and make us all safer from the next pandemic.
Weaving together compelling real stories with detailed background history, David and Charles have created a wonderful, yet brutal expose of the deficits in American health care that led to poor performance in the face of the COVID pandemic. They offer powerful insights into the changes we need to make now so we can avoid repeating these mistakes in the future.
5/12/22, Choice: This book was featured in a roundup of forthcoming titles in science & technology.
7/4/22, Becker’s Healthcare Review Podcast: Dr. David Nash joined Scott Becker to talk about the book.
7/14/22, The Gary Bisbee Show: Dr. David Nash was interviewed about the book.
7/19/22, 4Sight Health: Dr. David Nash was interviewed about the book and what he thinks of today’s healthcare system.
7/29/22, PopHealth Week on HealthcareNOW Radio: Dr. David Nash joined Fred Goldstein and Gregg Masters to talk about the book and the prospects for healthcare transformation.
8/10/22, RAC Monitor: The book was highlighted in this article.
10/12/22, Health Care Now Radio Virtual Shift Show: Dr. David Nash joined Tom Foley on the Virtual Shift for a discussion of the book.
10/25/22, Philadelphia Business Journal: Dr. David Nash and the book were featured.
November/December issue, AMGA’s (American Medical Group Association) Group Practice Journal: An excerpt from the book ran in this issue.
1/23/23, WXXI NPR (Rochester, NY): David Nash was interviewed about the book on the Connections with Evan Dawson show.