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Maine health system rebranding for era of consumerism

Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems is the latest hospital to rename itself to keep pace with a changing industry.

Jeff Lagasse, Associate Editor

WHAT HAPPENED

Eastern Maine Healthcare Systems, which until recently primarily covered the Bangor and "downeast" area of the state, will rename itself on October 1, 2018 in a branding move meant to reflect the growing scope of its services and attract digital-savvy patients. 

EXPECTED IMPACT

The system's new name will be Northern Light Health, according to the organization. Northern Light has slowly transitioned from a loose group of regional providers to a unified, centralized system encompassing the entire state.

In 2013, the system acquired Mercy Health System, and by extension, Mercy Hospital of Portland, greatly expanding its reach geographically.

EMHS had previously focused on services from Bangor to Presque Isle, but now operates nine hospitals across a broad swath of the state. 

The name change happens officially on October 1, 2018. 

THE BIGGER TREND

In an era where patients are now consumers, brand matters in healthcare. That was exemplified in 2015, when the former North Shore-Long Island Jewish health system renamed itself Northwell Health. The system is one of the largest in the country.

In addition to consumer interest, industry-wide changes in reimbursement drove the rebranding as state and federal policy started shifting healthcare to a payment model that penalizes hospitals when they lose patients to other providers. A name with some marketability was imperative.

THEIR TAKE

Northern Light CEO Michelle Hood: "Our new name signals two things: First, the name celebrates the remarkable work done within EMHS, particularly over the last five years, to build a system of care and services dedicated to optimizing the collective resources of our member organizations. Second, the brand behind the name establishes aspirational goals to guide us on our continued journey to making healthcare work for every Mainer." 

OUR TAKE

A major rebranding can directly affect a healthcare organization's efforts to grow and hospitals are finding that marketing is more essential than ever before as the industry is increasingly swept along by consumerism.

Twitter: @JELagasse
Email the writer: jeff.lagasse@himssmedia.com

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