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The Business of Medicine in the Era of COVID-19

Published time: 01 May 2020

Authors: David M. Cutler, Sayeh Nikpay, Robert S. Huckman

Keywords: Covid-19, business, medicine, economics.


The United States will eventually get through the acute coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) crisis but not without fundamental changes to the medical care system. Since the epidemic began, payment policy has stretched to remedy the bias of the health care system for in-person treatment provided by physicians. In response to the need for social distancing, new policies include broader payment for telemedicine, expanded scope-of-practice ability for nonphysician practitioners, and increased ability of physicians and nurses to practice across state lines. While these policy reforms address some of the immediate needs of this crisis, such as getting personnel to where they are most needed, they are not a complete solution to the COVID-19 crisis. How the aftermath of the current COVID-19 wave is handled will be just as important for the business of health care as what is happening now. 

Two issues about the medical system after the current wave are particularly important: What type of organizations will be available to treat patients a few months from now? And how will those patients be most effectively served?

The Business of Medicine in the Era of COVID-19



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