Dr. Stephen Klasko currently serves as president and CEO of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania-based Thomas Jefferson University and Jefferson Health.

He wears other hats as well. He has coauthored multiple books, including The Phantom Stethescope and We CAN Fix Healthcare: The Future Is Now. Klasko has another book — Bless This Mess: A Pictorial Primer for the Future of Healthcare — coming out this year.

In a phone interview, Klasko discussed his thoughts on the government’s role in healthcare, how Jefferson is addressing health disparities and more.

(This exchange has been lightly edited.)

In We CAN Fix Healthcare, you advocate for a new healthcare model. How would you describe it?

It’s hard to be non-political nowadays on healthcare. The Affordable Care Act did exactly the job we asked it to: It gave a lot more people availability to the healthcare system. It hoped the healthcare system would transform, but it didn’t do nearly enough to make that happen.

What we’re looking to do is disrupt the way we provide care by getting care out to where people are. For way too long, academic medical centers have made the concentration their academic hospital. The fact is, nothing else in our consumer world works that way.

I think the simple answer to your question is what has to change is healthcare has to join the consumer revolution and stop waiting for the government to come up with the answers.

Why is diversity important in healthcare — especially as it relates to medical school?

The crisis in this country is health inequity. It’s something we should all be ashamed of. The first piece is understanding that social determinants of health are just as important or as important as whether we have … an MRI in our hospital.

The issue around diversity is related to that. We haven’t done a great job of diversity in medical school education.

Part of the reason is what I have previously talked about. If you’re just admitting kids based on whether they can memorize organic chemistry, there are parents who are going to be able to afford to spend thousands of dollars for them to memorize that stuff. It’s not an even playing field. If you choose students based on empathy and communication skills, you’ll have a much more diverse class. They’ll go back to their communities and help prevent those inequities.

Read article on medcitynews.com by Erin Dietsche originally posted on January 28, 2018.