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Stephen  Klasko

Stephen Klasko

Former President of Thomas Jefferson University & Former CEO of Jefferson Health

Stephen Klasko

Former President of Thomas Jefferson University & Former CEO of Jefferson Health


Dr. Stephen Klasko is a transformative leader and advocate for a revolution in our systems of healthcare and higher education. After eight years in Philadelphia reimagining the future of Jefferson, he is now pursuing his vision of creative reconstruction of healthcare and addressing health inequities.

As president of Thomas Jefferson University and CEO of Jefferson Health from 2013-2021, he led one of the nation’s fastest growing academic health institutions based on his vision of reimagining healthcare and higher education.

Under his leadership, Jefferson expanded from three hospitals to 18 and from a health sciences university to a professional university with multiple campuses. Its revenue grew from $1.8 to $9 billion. His 2017 merger of Thomas Jefferson University with Philadelphia University created a preeminent national doctoral university that includes top-20 programs in fashion and design and occupational therapy, the first design-thinking curriculum in a medical school, and the nation’s leading research on the role of empathy in healthcare.

His track record of success has earned him being named as Modern Healthcare’s #2 in 2018’s 100 Most Influential Individuals; as #21 in Fast Company’s 100 Most Creative People in Business 2018; Philadelphia Entrepreneur of the Year 2018; Ernst & Young’s Greater Philadelphia 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, he spoke about the future of hospitals 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. He is co-author of the 2020 book, Patient No Longer with Ryan Donahue; 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.

He is married to Colleen Wyse, a fashion leader and founder of The Philadelphia Trunk Show, and has three children: Lynne, David and Jill.

Speaker Videos

TEDTalk: What Will Healthcare Look Like in 2020

Creating Renaissance in Healthcare

The Future of Healthcare: Telehealth and Communication

How to Transform to a Better Healthcare System

On Obamacare

Speech Topics

Patient No Longer: Why Healthcare Must Deliver the Care Experience That Consumers Want and Expect

The coronavirus pandemic has validated even more, that we need healthcare with no address, helping people and providing healthcare to where people are and when people need it. Telehealth worked. Providing guidance to families worked. Listening worked. Even under our greatest threat since World War II, the principles of using digital medicine to get care out to people turned out to be critical. Dr. Klasko explores this evolving delivery model of patient-centric care and the rise of the healthcare consumer as a powerful new voice. In addition to the compelling reasons why consumer-centric care is so crucial, he shares how leaders can work to build health systems focused on it. As healthcare consumers continue to demand the same types of interactions they enjoy in other industries, healthcare organizations must work hard to build frictionless customer experiences that create lasting connections and build genuine loyalty. Is your organization ready?

Unhealthcare: A Manifesto for Health Assurance

Hear Dr. Stephen Klasko make a provocative case for a new data-driven, cloud-based category of healthcare: “health assurance.” He will show how health assurance can be built using today’s technology, how it will help us all stay healthier at less cost, and how data from health assurance services can help individuals and officials contain and manage deadly virus outbreaks such as COVID-19. How can entrepreneurs, healthcare professionals, and policymakers bring health assurance to the mainstream and finally develop a solution to America’s healthcare debacle?

We CAN Fix Healthcare - The Future is NOW

Dr. Stephen K. Klasko proposes an extraordinary, even science fiction, event where a no-blaming conversation leads to an optimistic new future. Democrats and Republicans find they can collaborate on Dr. Klasko’s 12 disruptive transformations. Built on a variety of interviews from every part of the system, looking at service, education, economics, and the sociology of healthcare, Dr. Klasko argues that if we stop blaming each other, trends we now see as disruptive will actually lead to solutions. With an entertaining blend of humor, wit, and practical assessments about the current state of healthcare, Dr. Klasko shows where healthcare is heading in the future.

Putting Patients First

An obstetrician who also has an MBA from Wharton, Stephen Klasko has no trouble thinking about healthcare through a business lens. “With AI on the horizon, training humans to be better robots doesn’t make sense,” says Stephen Klasko, CEO of Philadelphia’s Jefferson Health. “The doctor of the future needs to be self-aware and empathetic.” By merging Thomas Jefferson University, a med school plus health and nursing colleges with design-focused Philadelphia University, Klasko has created the first medical school in the U.S. to offer a design certificate within its MD program. This now encourages future doctors to discover novel methods for putting patients first. Klasko has become one of the most innovative people in healthcare, developing new initiatives such as “hotspotting,” where med students are paired with patients who tend to overuse the ER, coaching them on self-care skills. The program has helped reduce unnecessary ER visits by 60%. “Virtual rounds” allow families to sit in, via videoconferencing software, when the doctor visits a recovering patient. Eighty percent of Jefferson’s doctors are trained in the network’s telehealth platform that offers 24/7 patient assistance.