After a robust conversation Tuesday afternoon, the St. John’s Medical Center Board of Trustees approved a new full name for the hospital.
The hospital plans to transition to “St. John’s Health” by July 1.
Trustees wanted to reassure those in the room that the hospital would always be named “St. John’s” but that just the descriptor is changing.
“I do like the fact that when people think of St. John’s and this new descriptor, the descriptor is much more about the entire process of wellness,” CEO Dr. Paul Beaupre said. “I really do not want St. John’s to be thought of anymore as where people go to get help when they’re sick. We’re much bigger than that now.”
Most trustees loved the new name. Liz Masek said, “I think we need to be forward thinking. St. John’s Health is this big thing we provide everyone, from education to outreach to specialized services.”
Others pointed to hospitals with similar names, like University of Utah Health.
Dr. Bruce Hayse appeared a bit more lukewarm.
“It certainly works and is a very acceptable term now,” he said. “But I’m not excited about it.”
Although the name ended up being approved unanimously, Trustee Joe Albright voiced concerns and tried, but failed, to extend the discussion another month.
He said it might be confusing to say the ambulance is taking a patient to “St. John’s Health” and said that the string of adjectives with no noun wasn’t the best possible name.
After some disagreement, Beaupre appealed to the board to follow the process they approved and let the branding research speak for itself.The shift is part of the hospital’s broader branding evolution process that began in the fall and will include other changes like a new logo and communication strategies.
“In reality, the benefits reach far beyond the name,” said Karen Connelly, chief communications officer.
“The real value is in the insights we gained and in our opportunity to use that information to do an even better job at what we do every day to serve the community,” she wrote in an email.
Two consulting firms used in the perceptions research and branding effort cost the hospital just under $75,000 over the past two years. Anticipated expenses associated with changing the name, such as replacing the logo on signs, materials and more, are in the process of being determined and will be better defined in March. Connelly said that to reduce and spread out costs, not all the materials will be changed at once.
“Some signage is likely to be a priority,” Connelly said. “We don’t have a cost estimate yet, but we’ll have that info as the budget process gets going.”