Hospitals change names to reflect changing strategies

Examples of hospital name changes

• Atrium Medical Center’s parent is now doing business as Premier Health, dropping “Partners” from the end of its name.

• On June 13, The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton announced its name was officially changed to Dayton Children’s Hospital.

• In December 2012, Cincinnati hospital group UC Health changed the name of its flagship University Hospital to University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

• Mercy Health went through a rebrand in 2011, also dropping “Partners” from the end of its old name, and updating 100-plus facilities to a consistent image

What’s in a name? A lot when you’re in the health care business, judging by the recent actions of several area hospital groups.

This newspaper learned June 12 that the parent health system of Atrium Medical Center is making a slight change to its name. Dayton-based Premier Health Partners is now doing business as Premier Health, dropping the “Partners” from the end of the organization’s name.

This is part of a rebranding effort that began in recent months, Premier Health spokeswoman Diane Ewing said.

Coincidentally, on June 13, Dayton Children’s announced it officially changed its name from The Children’s Medical Center of Dayton — a name its operated under since the 1970s — to Dayton Children’s Hospital.

Dayton Children’s operates a specialty care center on Atrium’s Middletown campus.

Officials with Dayton Children’s said the name change times with the hospital’s recently completed strategic plan Destination 2020 that calls for the hospital to play a larger leadership role in improving the safety and health of local children.

Mercy Health, a system of six hospitals and other services based in Blue Ash, went through a rebrand in 2011. It dropped “Partners” from the end of its name as well and updated 100-plus facilities to a consistent logo including hospitals, doctor practices and outpatient centers. As a result, the full name of its Butler County hospital is Mercy Health — Fairfield Hospital.

Consumer research found there was confusion with the name Partners, Mercy Health spokeswoman Nanette Bentley said.

“We wanted to convey the fact that we have a comprehensive network of care” whether at a Mercy Health nursing home, physician practice, hospital, gym or other location, Bentley said.

Other hospitals to make similar moves include Cincinnati health system UC Health, affiliated with University of Cincinnati. The system’s flagship downtown hospital changed names in December 2012 from University Hospital to UC Medical Center to reflect “UC Health’s position as a national leader in solving complex medical problems.”

The seemingly small changes are actually big endeavors. There’s a whole strategy behind the name and the message the hospital groups are hoping to convey, experts said.

And it’s expensive. Signs, letterhead, logos and signatures all must be changed.

UC Health’s Butler County hospital in West Chester Twp. opened in 2009 under the name West Chester Medical Center. But it quickly changed names by 2010 to West Chester Hospital instead.

When West Chester had the name medical center attached to it, the hospital got a lot of questions about what they do there, spokesman Grant Wenzel said.

“We came to the realization there are many different ways to interpret the name medical center. But the vast majority of people interpret the name hospital in only one way,” Wenzel said.

Dayton Children’s Hospital’s research found people associate more comprehensive and critical health care services with the word “hospital,” said Vicki Giambrone, vice president of strategic partnerships for Dayton Children’s. Moreover, when people search online, they are 70 times more likely to use the key words “children’s hospital” versus “medical center,” Giambrone said.

“Years ago, medical center was added to the names of many health care providers and systems because these providers wanted to communicate they had more services in the community,” she said. “While we have services throughout our 20-county service area, and both names could reflect all that what we do, parents and families associate more services like trauma and emergency and critical care, as well as comprehensive specialty services with ‘hospital.’”

In the case of Cincinnati Children’s, they go by both; their full name is Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center.

Kettering Health Network, which owns Fort Hamilton Hospital, has no plans to change its name any time soon, spokeswoman Elizabeth Long said.

The group already underwent a name change back in 2007. It was known as the Kettering Medical Center Network.

“I think the more consumer facing a business is, the more important the name of the organization is,” Lori Turner, vice president of marketing for Kettering Health, said. “In Kettering’s case, the move to Kettering Health Network was a deliberate representation of aligning services.”

“I think there is value in a name and I think there’s value also in an icon. But those two things are only part of the equation,” Turner said. “The really important thing is delivering the quality of service every day.”

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