Stephen Klasko, MD
• Global Innovation Ambassador, Sheba Medical Center, Israel
• Distinguished Fellow, World Economic Forum
• Former President and CEO, Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health
As President of Philadelphia-based Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health, he has steered one of the nation’s fastest growing academic health institutions based on his vision of re-imagining health care and higher education. His 2017 merger of Thomas Jefferson University with Philadelphia University creates a
pre-eminent R2 national doctoral university that includes top-20 programs in fashion and design and occupational therapy, coupled with the first design-thinking curriculum in a medical school, and the nation's leading research on the role of empathy in health care.
His track record of success has earned him as high as #2 on Modern Healthcare’s “100 Most Influential Individuals”; as #21 in Fast Company’s “100 Most Creative People in Business”; Ernst & Young’s “Greater Entrepreneur of the Year 2018”; and Becker's Hospital Review's “100 Great Leaders in Healthcare.”
Dr. Klasko is an internationally recognized advocate for transformation in healthcare and higher education. He is the author of 2020’s UnHealthcare: A Manifesto for Health Assurance, with Silicon Valley investor Hemant Taneja. In 2019, has led the future of hospitals and digital economy at the World Economic Forum in Davos, and in 2020, was named a Distinguished Fellow of the World Economic Forum and co-chair of its Board of Stewards for the Forum's platform on the digital economy, along with Al Gore and Tim Berners-Lee. He is co-author of the 2020 book, Patient No Longer with Ryan Donahue, and author of Bless This Mess: A Picture Story of Healthcare in America (2018) - an account of how the USA was elected to the Intergalactic Council of Cool Health Systems by 2035; WE Can Fix Healthcare in America (2016); and The Phantom Stethoscope (1999).
He has served as dean of two medical colleges and leader of three academic health centers before becoming President and CEO at Jefferson in 2013.
Under his leadership, Jefferson has expanded from three hospitals to 18,from a boutique health sciences university to a professional university with multiple campuses and as an “integrated delivery and financial system” with the acquisition of Health Partners Plan, a $2 billion Medicaid and Medicare Advantage payor. Revenues have grown from $1.5 billion to more than $9.4 billion, annualized. The new Jefferson focuses on managing the health of populations in southeastern Pennsylvania and southern New Jersey, and providing high-value education that is transdisciplinary, interprofessional and experiential. Jefferson Health has the largest faculty based tele-health network in the country, the NCI-designated Sidney Kimmel Cancer Center, and an outpatient footprint that is among the most technologically advanced in the region, as well as co-development partnerships with many of the nation’s leading healthcare IT founders.
Through a unique four-pillar model—academic-clinical-innovation-philanthropy—Jefferson has attracted venture capital and transformational gifts. Sidney and Caroline Kimmel donated $110 million to Jefferson on June 18, 2014, the largest gift in the University’s history. Philanthropy and innovation have also resulted in the addition of the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health, nationally recognized for its modern medical and integrated therapies, and the Jane and Leonard Korman Respiratory Institute, a partnership between Jefferson Health and National Jewish Health.
Previously, as CEO of USF Health and Dean of the Morsani College of Medicine at the University of South Florida, Dr. Klasko built the nation’s largest “assessment of technical and teamwork competence” center known as CAMLS (Center for Advanced Medical Learning and Simulation). He also led a partnership with the country’s largest retirement community, The Villages, to create “America’s healthiest hometown,” an innovative primary-care-driven, patient-centric, Medicare-based accountable care model.
Dr. Klasko is ideally suited to lead such initiatives, having completed a grant after receiving his MBA from the Wharton School of Business of the University of Pennsylvania on selecting and educating physicians to be leaders of change. His unique medical education program at USF, called SELECT (Scholarly Excellence, Leadership Education, Collaborative Training), is recognized for its focus on choosing medical students based on emotional intelligence and leadership potential.
Dr. Klasko also serves on several tech and medical device boards, including Teleflex (TFX:NYSE), a NYSE global medical device company with a market cap of $20 billion, for which has served on both the audit committee and governance committee and has been a director since 2008. He serves on both the Globo (a digital communications company) and Kyra (a clinical research expansion company) and is the chair of the advisory board for 3D Systems (DDD:NYSE) the world’s largest 3D printing company. He is the chair of the board of trustees of Opera Philadelphia and is a trustee of FARA (Friedrich’s Ataxia Research Alliance). He has also been a trustee of Lehigh University, one of the nation’s leading engineering and business schools.
He is married to Colleen Wyse, a fashion leader, former associate publisher for Vogue and W and founder of The Philadelphia Trunk Show; and has three children: Lynne, David and Jill and four perfect grandchildren.
- The Courage to Change: A Soundtrack (for leadership)
If there’s anything I’ve learned in 40 years as a dean, CEO and president, it’s that we each need our own toolbox for an optimistic future. I recently retired as president of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health to pursue my passion for using technology to reduce costs and address health disparities. As I step away from a career as dean of two medical schools, CEO of three academic health systems and president of a university, these are my reflections on that toolbox for optimism. My message to you: Make sure your toolbox is full. My toolbox has always included music.
I’ve been a DJ for 50 years and a doctor for 40 years, so every Friday during the pandemic, I sent a playlist to our employees to remind them that art and music and humanity are still alive and well, despite the tough times each of us was experiencing. What I said repeatedly to my employees: We should listen to “The Message in the Music” (the O’Jays, lyrics by Philly’s own Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff). When I left Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health, I gave an interview to the Philadelphia Business Journal based on songs in my toolbox, that I want to share with my colleagues and friends in the industry.
- Is There an Avatar in the House?
The revolution that needs to happen in medical education and training to ensure that machine learning and computers become members of teams where the humans get to focus on the human questions.
- Health Assurance in 2031: From COVID to Consumerism
This talk speaks to payor-provider alignment in the MA space.
It’s March, 2032. A mutant strain of an RNA encapsulated virus has been afflicting people in Australia. Of course, people old enough to remember, especially healthcare workers, the dark days of early 2020 and the COVID 19 crisis immediately panicked….for a second…and then they smiled. Because they knew healthcare had evolved from a broken, fragmented, expensive, inequitable “sick care” system to a “health assurance” system where there is payor-provider alignment and much of a patient's care happens at home.
We are witnessing healthcare’s “Amazon moment.” If you are a provider and think you’re going back to a business model solely based on hospital revenue and not relevant to people who want care at home, you will be out of business. If you are an insurer and think you can just be the middle man between the hospital and the patient, you’ll be irrelevant. If hospitals believe that innovation can just be this cute little thing that they do in the background, but the real business is getting “heads in beds” they will never recover from the pandemic of 2020-2022 losses. This keynote will highlight several post pandemic strategies, including:
1) New creative partnerships between community partners, health systems and payors as we move from “sick care” to “health assurance.” The fragmentation between payors and providers was replaced by a "radical collaboration through vehicles such as Medicare Advantage
2) The fastest growing demographic, seniors, redefined health provision through demanding and receiving healthcare in an understandable and connected manner. We will cite the results of the first "patient owned, primary care driven health system in a large senior community."
3) How providers handle data today will make or break patient trust in the future.
4) Technology can start to address health disparities but it must be applied strategically.
5) The most prized skills for physicians will be empathy, communication and self-awareness in the digital age.
6) How population health, predictive analytics and social determinants move from philosophy to the mainstream of clinical care, payment models and medical education.
- Why The Digital Revolution Cannot Simply Make the Wealthy Healthier.
Technology gives us an unprecedented opportunity to bridge the divides that threaten our society – if we have the determination to make it happen.
- Healthcare at Any Address.
How shifting the locus of care to the home gives people control of their own health, and allows clinicians to engage families and even communities in keeping people healthy.
-CEO, Associated Medical Services
“As the opening speaker for our annual conference, Dr. Stephen Klasko needed to set the bar high for our three-day event—and he did not disappoint. His use of humor and pop culture references had the audience completely engaged, and his clear message and thoughtful presentation provided valuable insight for the attendees to bring back to their companies. Dr. Klasko was everything you want in a Keynote speaker and more. Simply put, he was exceptional.”
-Director of Operations, Texas Association of Health Plans
“Dear Dr. Klasko, I want to thank you for serving as the keynote speaker for our Texas Covered Conference + Expo last week. Your presentation on the future of health care was entertaining (I always appreciate a Star Wars reference) and informative, and it really set high expectations for the entire event. We could not have asked for a better speaker. Thank you so much for coming and being exceptional.”
-CEO, TX Association of Health Plans