Skip Hidlay, Senior Vice President, Chief Communications and Marketing Officer, UChicago Medicine
View from the C-Suite
// By Jane Weber Brubaker //
Under Skip Hidlay’s leadership, UChicago Medicine launched a new brand and a new website that helps the organization stand out in a crowded market.
When you have a great story to tell, you need great storytellers. Skip Hidlay came on board as senior vice president, chief communications and marketing officer, at the University of Chicago Medicine in 2016 after a five-year stint at Via Christi Health (now Ascension Via Christi) in Wichita, Kansas, the largest health system in the state. His 30 years in journalism prior to making the transition to health care has served both organizations well.
Hidlay was one of the early movers in the newspaper business who saw big changes coming, and successfully led the digital transformation of three traditionally print-centric newsrooms. One of the things he observed during his time as a journalist was that readers had a strong interest in health care.
“When I was an executive editor,” he shares, “we did market research every two or three years and would ask people what they were most interested in reading about, and health care always ranked in the top five.” As content consumption moved online, he notes, Pew Research Center consistently found that at any given time, 80 percent of the internet audience was seeking health information.
Health care organizations have no shortage of experts and stories to tell, and Hidlay wasted no time extracting that trapped value at Via Christi. “We had access to all these great experts, these doctors who could help answer people’s questions,” he says. “So we built an internal content marketing agency and trained our team members how to tell stories.”
When UChicago Medicine came knocking, Hidlay jumped at the chance to help the world-class academic health system bring its brand and digital presence up to the same high level.
What he and his team have achieved since then is an impressive transformation that has received high praise from industry leaders. UChicago Medicine and its agency Primacy recently took home two platinum awards at the 2019 eHealth care Leadership Awards, for Best Integrated Campaign and Best Site Design.