What’s in a Name? Rebranding Ties Health System Together
by Sheryl S. Jackson
The simultaneous unveiling of exterior signs on eight hospitals across the 29-county area signified the launch of “Vidant Health” as the new name of the health system previously known as University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina. But the name change was just an outward symbol of the rebranding process that began with the 2009 development of a strategic plan for the Greenville, NC-based health system.
“Research conducted as part of the strategic planning process showed that our customers did not understand how all of the hospitals, physicians, and other services in our system were related,” explains Anissa Davenport, chief strategic development and marketing officer for the health system. The system grew in one decade from one hospital to a network of physician practices, more than 11,000 employees, 10 hospitals, home health and hospice programs, and wellness facilities. Although physician practices, hospitals, and other services acquired during the 10-year period were supposed to brand themselves with their name and the phrase “part of the University Health Systems of Eastern Carolina,” the cumbersome name was not used consistently and patients did not associate hospitals, physicians, and services with the overall organization.
A rebranding initiative was developed to tie all components of the health system together and make it clear that each facility or physician group offered the same high quality of care. The simplest approach to selecting a new name that could easily be applied was to use the initials “UHS” as the system name and combine it with each hospital’s location-specific name. But sometimes simple isn’t possible, as Vidant Health staff learned when they discovered that “UHS” is trademarked by another health care company.
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