Hospitals change names to reflect changing strategies

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.

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.

Springfield is a major patient source for Dayton Children’s, which opened in 2012 a specialty care center here in partnership with Springfield Regional Medical Center.

Officials with Dayton Children’s said the name change coincides 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.

The private physician-owned hospital Ohio Valley changed names earlier this year to Ohio Valley Surgical Hospital. It was previously called Ohio Valley Medical Center.

Springfield Regional Medical Center, which opened in 2011, was formed by the two former hospitals Community Hospital on High Street and Mercy Medical Center on Fountain Boulevard.

Other hospitals to make similar name-changing moves include Premier Health, the Dayton market’s largest health system. 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.

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.

A name is the first impression most people have of any organization, said Chris Eifert, principal and co-owner of Dayton marketing firm TriComB2B.

“Speaking very generally, nobody’s going to embark on a name change for no reason,” Eifert said.

There are many practical reasons to do it including a merger or acquisition. But “usually a name change reflects a change in strategic direction,” Eifert said.

And “it can take years to implement a name change in a complex business,” he said.

Ohio Valley Surgical Hospital opened in Springfield on West Main Street in 2009. It is a 24-bed, for-profit hospital for overnight surgical procedures. It also has same-day outpatient services including physical therapy.

“We were just open for three years and people were just always confusing us for just a surgery center and what we were really,” Ohio Valley President Steven Eisentrager said. “So to us, the clarity was we’re actually a registered hospital” that does more than 12,000 surgeries a year.

“This gives us a good foundation to do more publicity going forward,” Eisentrager said.

At Dayton Children’s Hospital, 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.’”

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