NPR Interviews Analysis Group Affiliate Anupam B. Jena on the Less Obvious Consequences of COVID-19

April 21, 2020

In an NPR TED Radio Hour interview, Analysis Group affiliate Anupam B. Jena discussed the importance of applying creative thinking when using economic tools, such as a natural experiments, when studying topics in health care, including the COVID-19 pandemic. Professor Jena, who teaches health care policy at Harvard Medical School and Harvard University and practices internal medicine at Massachusetts General Hospital, studies health care economics and is an expert on a wide range of health care matters, including antitrust, commercial damages, intellectual property, and False Claims Act litigation.

In the NPR interview, Professor Jena explored the less obvious consequences of social phenomena. For example, when a city hosts a marathon, do street closures preventing access to health care facilities lead to adverse health outcomes? Are cardiologists more likely to offer bypass surgery to a 79-year-old patient than an 80-year-old patient due to left-digit bias? During the current pandemic, could a sharp decline in automobile-related deaths as populations stay home partially offset the mortality rates from COVID-19? What impacts could stay-at-home policies have on decisions to seek care for conditions other than COVID-19?

The interview – which also included segments from Professor Jena’s recent TEDMED talk, “The Profound Difference Between Seeing and Looking” – suggested that creative questioning could be a key to understanding social behavior, as well as explaining health care outcomes.

Listen to the interview