Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Naming hospital systems

Naming hospital systems

How did the Queens-Long Island Medical Group rebrand itself? – as the lovely QLIMG.

How would you re-name the Metropolitan Jewish Health System to reflect the rich diversity of its patients and staff? The chosen “name”: MJHS

What do you call the North Shore-Long Island Jewish Healthcare System? The organization decided to keep the long name – but promote a shortened form “North-Shore LIJ” – this despite the fact that the system has expanded far beyond Long Island and is not exclusively Jewish.

What do you call the group of hospitals in Eastern Connecticut organized into a more integrated network? It’s called ECHN. A current billboard along I-91 shows a happy patient proclaiming, “Thanks ECHN.”

How important is having a cool name? When your service is critically important, you may not need a cool name to be successful. That seems to be the current thinking among hospital systems.

That said, a competitive hospital system does need a name that human beings can say and remember. I predict that these organizations will come around to joining the rest of the human race and create true names, not jumbled letters.

My rule number one: The need for a cool name declines in proportion to the essential nature of the service being offered. It doesn't matter what you call a super-engineered, life-saving cancer drug.

But rule number two is: Broad-based healthcare networks will benefit by ditching the letters and adopting simple, memorable names.

After all, they have to compete for staff, patients and donors. Their clumsy initials suggest a vast, cold bureaucracy, reveal an inward-turning mentality, and insult quaking patients in cheap gowns by expecting them to say and write four ugly capital letters.

What is the value of putting a human name on the door of your hospital system? A simple, human name proclaims that a respectful, caring service begins from the moment you stretch out your hand to introduce yourself.



Jerry said...

Mondifi are the letters that came up as the word verification on your blog.

Better than the names you are reporting on? Maybe.

I got an email yesterday that began with this captivating sentence:

The North American Program Planning and Policy Academy will be conducting the Program Planning, Evaluation, and Proposals Strategy Session at the University of Denver in Denver, CO on May 9 - 10, 2011.

I immediately translated it to:

The NAPPPA will be conducting the PPE and PPS at UD in Denver, CO on May 9 - 10, 2011.

brandsinger said...

Hi Jerry-
Yes, Mondifi could work -- it suggests "a world of difference."


ERB said...

I would add to this by suggesting real words should be used (even if it's the obscure latin medical term for "collagen implants") rather than some imaginative but meaningless hybrid (or by plopping an "a" at the end of a real word and calling it a day).

For instance, the captcha for this comment is "Regotter". Assuming that's a real world (latin for "collagen implants"?), avoid the trendy but meaningless "Regottera Medical Services".

brandsinger said...

Thanks, ERB.
Real words are great -- though they are often hard to secure legally.

Any pleasing sound with meaningful connotations can have personality and convey a welcoming attitude. Cold, capitalized initials say: "We are this. Deal with it."


Mark said...

haha.. "Mondifi: A world of difference." Brilliant.

You ought to register the domain and keep it in your back pocket for name pitches..

brandsinger said...

Hey Mark - you can have that name for a beer and a ham sandwich.


Christina said...

Not sure that having a cool name is really what health systems are after. I think a bigger issue could be society's urge to abbreviate. Are we lazy? Trying to save a few minutes? Life, for some, is one continous short-cut.

I applaud ECHN's billboard. If I was treated there and wanted to thank them, I would say 'Thanks, ECHN' rather than 'Thanks, Eastern Connecticut Health Network.' Hopefully their billboard contains their brand promise -- Healthier Together.' In the mind of the consumer, what matters most is if the brand is delivering.

Thanks for your perspective, Claude!

brandsinger said...

Alright! - thanks for the insights, Christina.
I agree that ECHN is better than Eastern Connecticut Health Network. But what about Eastern Health? or Your Health East? or Eastern Connects Healthcare? or the name of one of the original hospitals? or Christina Care? or... anyway, I would look for a friendlier name in place of four initials.

Chacun son gout!