What's Behind the Rash of New Hospital Brands?

Hospitals and health systems across the country have been getting makeovers this year — several organizations have changed their name, brand and/or logo in the beginning of 2013. The following 10 healthcare name changes and new brands represent just a fraction of the organizations that have reinvented themselves this year.

• Oakland, Calif.-based Alameda County Medical Center became Alameda Health System.
• Baptist Healthcare System in Louisville, Ky., changed its name to Baptist Health and is rebranding its seven Kentucky hospitals.
• Edward Health Services Corp. in Naperville, Ill., became Edward-Elmhurst Healthcare.
• Gaston Memorial Hospital in Gastonia, N.C., was renamed CaroMont Regional Medical Center, to reflect its relationship with CaroMont Health.
• Greenville (S.C.) Hospital System University Medical Center was renamed Greenville Health System and adopted a new logo.
• Huguley Memorial Medical Center in Burleson, Texas, became Texas Health Huguley Hospital Fort Worth South.
• High Point (N.C.) Regional Health System changed its logo and brand.
• Des Moines-based Iowa Health became UnityPoint Health.
• Jefferson Regional Medical Center in Chesterfield, Mo., became Mercy Hospital Jefferson.
• Vancouver, Wash.-based PeaceHealth renamed its four Oregon hospitals, which now include PeaceHealth in their names.

Why now?

Hospitals and health systems have always had reasons to rebrand, like to promote a new affiliation or an expansion of services. However, this recent rash of healthcare rebranding seems to come from widespread industry trends, such as increased physician integration and coordination of care across the continuum, that have picked up steam in the last year.

"It's no secret that healthcare systems and hospitals are redefining themselves…with healthcare reform prompting population health initiatives, there is a move toward a physician-driven, patient-centered system model," says Marissa Chachra, a senior advisor with Jarrard Phillips Cate & Hancock, a healthcare communications firm. "As they're redefining themselves, they recognize the need to rebrand who they are in order to better reflect what they really do now."

For instance, Greenville Health System, formerly Greenville Hospital System University Medical Center, decided to rebrand in part because it had added multiple employed physician practices and became more integrated as a system. "From an operational standpoint, we're becoming more integrated and physician-led," explains Sally Foister, the system's director of marketing services. "We were moving forward with the goal of becoming a highly integrated delivery system, and if we were going to be operating as an integrated system, we wanted to look like one as well."

For more information on GHS' rebranding strategy, click here.

Bill Leaver, CEO of UnityPoint Health, formerly Iowa Health, says his system rebranded for similar reasons. "For four years, we've been working on creating a different delivery model. With that in mind, we started thinking about our brand and realized we need to be known as the manager of disease and the care coordinator."

As part of its rebranding effort, Greenville Health System is bringing all of its employed physician practices under the new brand umbrella to present a unified system, says Ms. Foister. According to Ms. Chachra, that practice is becoming more popular with organizations that are reinventing themselves. "It allows [the organization] to increase its footprint in the community," she says. "Having practices rolled up underneath the larger brand…broadens the number of entry points that a patient can access a hospital or system."

So, as hospitals and health systems continue to integrate and redefine themselves to patients and their communities, additional new names and brands are likely to pop up across the country.

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