Christine Woolsey: Bringing Two Health Systems Together as SCL Health
Christine Woolsey began working with SCL Health — then known as Sisters of Charity Leavenworth Health System — as a public relations consultant helping the organization manage issues and communications related to a merger with another health system. In 2010, she joined SCL as senior vice president and chief communications and marketing officer.
“At the time the two systems came together, the 13 hospitals were a loose confederation of facilities, each operating autonomously and maintaining their local brands with no connection to a larger identity,” explains Woolsey.
After evaluating the brand equity of both system names, Woolsey and system leadership launched the SCL Health brand. The primary benefits for the hospitals to join together were access to capital, improved purchasing power, access to state-of-the-art technology, and collaboration on care models. Initially, the benefits of being part of a larger organization were communicated to hospital audiences through emails and town hall meetings with staff, says Woolsey.
“We had a corporate identity, but each hospital kept its individual name,” she says. At the time, each hospital also had its own marketing communications team, so Woolsey focused on building an integrated function and unified brand strategy with digital capabilities and consistent messages in every market.
In our newest View from the C-Suite feature, Woolsey shares SCL Health’s journey to a unified brand — no small feat for a health system spread across three states. The brand and its rationale have to be understood and adopted by internal stakeholders, and then communicated externally to the communities SCL Health serves. The ultimate beneficiaries are consumers. “One of the key reasons to develop a master brand strategy is that research shows that consumers want coordinated and connected care,” Woolsey says.
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