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Emerging Stronger After COVID-19

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Key Messages

This publication has undergone peer review according to procedures established by the National Academy of Medicine (NAM). Publication by the NAM signifies that it is the product of a carefully considered process and is a contribution worthy of public attention, but does not constitute endorsement of conclusions and recommendations by the NAM. The views presented in this publication are those of individual contributors and do not represent formal consensus positions of the authors’ organizations; the NAM; or the National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine.

In mid-2022, the United States has lost more than 1 million people to the COVID-19 pandemic. We have been real-time witnesses to scores of heroic responses to the disease, death, inequity, and economic strife unleashed by the virus, but have also experienced the consequences of poor pandemic preparedness and long-standing structural failures in our health system.

For decades, the U.S. health system has fallen far short of its potential to support and improve individual and population health. The COVID-19 pandemic has presented death and devastation—but also an unprecedented opportunity to truly transform U.S. health, health care, and health delivery.

To capitalize on this opportunity, the National Academy of Medicine gathered field leaders from across all of the major health system sectors to assess how each sector has responded to the pandemic and the opportunities that exist for health system transformation. The opportunity is now to capitalize on the hard-won lessons of COVID-19 and build a health care system that centers patients, families, and communities; cares for clinicians; supports care systems, public health, and biomedical research to perform at the best of their abilities; applies innovations from digital health and quality, safety, and standards organizations; and encourages health care payers and health product manufacturers and innovators to produce products that benefit all.