Stephen Klasko: What Healthcare Will Look Like in 2020 (Transcript)

Stephen Klasko at TEDxPhiladelphia

Here is the full transcript of Jefferson Health’s CEO, Stephen Klasko’s TEDx Talk: What Healthcare Will Look Like in 2020 at TEDxPhiladelphia conference. 

Listen to the MP3 Audio: What healthcare will look like in 2020 by Stephen Klasko at TEDxPhiladelphia

Stephen Klasko – CEO, Jefferson Health

Well, I want to thank you all for coming and especially the people that came from outside of Philadelphia that hovered over here. Especially those of you that time-traveled from other decades and times.

I’m Steve Klasko, I’m the CEO of Stevie’s Vinyl Emporium and Implantable Health Chips in South Street in Philadelphia. That’s what I am today, but for the past ten years, I’ve been the Presidency of Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson University Hospital System, that literally was one of the pioneers along with several others for what is now called the Leaders of the Optimistic Future in Healthcare Revolution, from 2015 to 2024.

So from those of you who are coming from another decade, or for those of you who are here in the 2020s, I’d like to talk a little bit about how that journey happened, and maybe give you a little bit of a personal story about how it happened for me.

So first, one of the things that we did, we got tired of whining, and we decided let’s just travel into the future. Let’s just think about what we want and then create it.

For me, that started in 1977. Very important time for me, I was a senior medical student. It was important because I got asked to give a talk for TED. Now not the TED you’re thinking of, because TED didn’t exist in 1977. It was called Tomorrow’s Education of Doctors.

It was everything different than the technology that exists today. It was a little slide show with a screen, but they asked me to talk about what the future of medicine looks like from a medical student’s point of view.

The other reason I remember it, it was the first time I saw the Rolling Stones. This is what they looked like back then. I was a huge fan, but what I talked about because I was a little nervous about the first talk, I talked about, “Can you do anything about spiraling costs? Can you change the fevered service system so we’re really rewarding volume, value and not volume, and can you measure outcomes?”

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And I said, “My generation of docs is going to solve this over the next four years. We are not going to be dealing with this even 20 years from now.” Well amazingly the docs said, “No” And that didn’t happen.

Now I was also a very different person back in 1977, this is what I looked like. Thank you, thank you…

That’s called a leisure suit. And but for a brief interlude where they tried to bring it back in 2019, I think it’s safe to say it’s out of the fashion lexicon forever, but the car was a 1968 GTO which was, and is, a very cool car. Thank you…

So there we went through really what was what some people call the middle or dark ages, the Managed Care Revolution, which did not really manage anything. It didn’t really provide care, it just promoted under-utilization.

The Balanced Budget Amendment, which didn’t really balance the budget, and didn’t really amend anything. And then the first iteration of what has now been 17 iterations of what was then called Obamacare.

So that brings us to 2014, and why was 2014 important to me? Well I was very proud and honored to be inaugurated and selected as the first president and CEO of Thomas Jefferson University and Health Systems combined. It was also a big moment for me because it was the second time I saw the Rolling Stones, and this is what they looked like back in 2014.

And in my inauguration I was given a script, and what I talked about in inauguration of 2014 is “Hey, can we do anything about spiraling costs? Can we change the fevered service system? Do you think we can measure outcomes?” So it was a bit of an aha moment for me, I said, “Well, 37 years, that’s a lot for not to have much change.”

This time though, the insurers and government said, “We’re really going to do it.” And really what people were actually predicting is, because believe it or not even at 2014 the docs said, “I really don’t want to take any risks. I think things are fine the way they are.” And you couldn’t go a week without people threatening the extinction of academic health centers.

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So I’m proud to say here in Philadelphia and Jefferson, we said yes, and I’d love to talk to you a little bit about what happened between 2014 and 2024.

So here we are in 2024, and by the way, I don’t know if any of you saw it in your Facebook implantable glasses, the Zombie Rock Tour, it was awesome. It was awesome. By the way, those Facebook implantable glasses, can be bought at Stevie’s Vinyl Records and Implantable Devices. This is, I thought the Rolling Stones, the Rolling Stones rocked, they rocked the undead tour, right? Who agrees with me? They rocked the undead tour. Seven decades of great Rolling Stones, you talk about not getting any satisfaction, look at these guys.

But more importantly, more importantly, what happened in Philadelphia, what happened at Jefferson was, that we took, we took that mode of, people saying that it’s impossible to change healthcare. And really the personal piece for me believe it or not did not come from Admonities or Aristotle, or even somebody from the University of Pennsylvania or Jefferson. It came from a sneaker commercial.

It was an Adidas marketing campaign back in 2014 called the Impossible, it said “Impossible is just a big word thrown around by small men and women who find it easier to live the world they’ve been given rather than explore the power they have to change it. Impossible is not a fact, it’s an opinion. Impossible is temporary, impossible is nothing.”

So we decided, what the heck, let’s do the impossible. Because everybody knew things were changing, we weren’t going to wait for a miracle. And we said, “Let’s do it.” Okay so, here it is, it’s March 28, 2024, now I apologize for those of you who come from this decade, but I know some of you probably have time travel lag, and I just want you to know where we’re at today.

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So it’s March 28, 2024, President Jenna Bush will be debating democratic nominee Chelsea Clinton, in what a lot of people think will be a very tight race. Harrison Ford has signed on for one last Indiana Jones sequel. Tentatively titled Indiana Jones: the Legend of Bingo Night, we’re all excited about that one. And the Eagles are 2-0 and trying to win their first Superbowl since the unprecedented four straight they won from 2015 to 2018, the so-called Chip Championship Years. Of course, Governor Chip now has a very different job than he had back then.

But more importantly, more importantly or as importantly, Jefferson is celebrating it’s 200th anniversary as a state wide national, and international hub of innovation, with headquarters in Philadelphia instead of just a Philadelphia academic medical center. We’ve become a destination site for innovation entrepreneurial health with unprecedented economic development.

And our creative partnerships have allowed us to become what the Wall Street Journal called a thriving cluster on the verge of a chain reaction. Which has helped make Philadelphia the epicenter of the new healthcare. Oh and by the way, I’m getting out of my DeLorean to accept an award from the US News and the Interplanetary Report, as most of you know, in 2019 we found two other planets with slightly dysfunctional heath systems.

So they are now part of the ranking system that the forward USNWR uses. So how did we get there? I’d like to, TEDx has asked me to talk about three things that we did that were very different.

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