CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- After 110 years of tradition in Charlotte, Presbyterian Hospital is changing its name.
And its sister hospitals in the suburbs of Matthews and Huntersville will no longer carry the Presbyterian identity.
It’s part of a “strategic branding plan” announced Tuesday by Novant Health, the Winston-Salem-based company that owns 13 hospitals in four states, including Presbyterian Healthcare’s four hospitals in Mecklenburg County.
Novant officials unveiled the new names – and a new aubergine and charcoal gray logo – to 25,000 employees across the system Tuesday. Name changes take effect April 17, and all signs should be converted by the end of the year.
Novant CEO Carl Armato said the move will make it clear that the hospitals, as well as affiliated doctors offices and outpatient facilities, across the four states are part of Novant Health.
The private, nonprofit Novant Health was created in 1997 with the merger of Presbyterian Healthcare in Mecklenburg and Carolina Medicorp of Winston-Salem. Over the years, it has grown into a $3.4 billion system, but facilities across four states retained their own identities, except for a green arch on each sign.
“It took us awhile to evolve as a system. There was a lot of independence,” Armato said. “The next step for us is to unite as a family under one brand.”
Here are the name changes for Charlotte-area hospitals:
• Presbyterian Hospital will be Novant Health Presbyterian Medical Center.
• Presbyterian Hospital Huntersville will be Novant Health Huntersville Medical Center.
• Presbyterian Hospital Matthews will be Novant Health Matthews Medical Center.
• Presbyterian Orthopaedic Hospital will be Novant Health Charlotte Orthopaedic Hospital.
• Rowan Regional Medical Center will be Novant Health Rowan Medical Center.
Physician groups owned by Novant also will adopt the system name. For example, Blakeney Family Physicians in Ballantyne will become Novant Health Blakeney Family Physicians.
But Armato said the branding plan is more than a name change. He said Novant has initiated a series of steps to improve the patient experience.
That includes making it “simpler and easier” to access the health care system, he said. For example, Novant’s 13 acute-care hospitals will all give patients the same admission packet in the future, instead of having different forms as they do today.
Also, the system has begun offering a smartphone app and online tool called “MyChart” that allows patients to make same-day appointments, leave messages for their doctors and read test results and other health information online. So far, about 100,000 patients are using it, mostly in the Charlotte and Winston-Salem areas.
“I saw a couple patients today who got to me by going online and booking appointments,” said Dr. Andrew Mueller, a Blakeney family physician and senior vice president for physician services for Novant. “We’re really trying to transform how we deliver care.”
Novant officials have been working for about a year with Prophet Inc., an international consulting firm, to come up with its new brand. Novant officials wouldn’t say how much they paid for the consultant, or how much it will cost to convert hospital signs and letterhead to the new names.
Jesse Cureton, Novant’s new chief consumer officer, said the logo change from green to aubergine and gray is “softer, and much warmer, which is what we were looking for.”
A national trend
Hospitals across the country have been making similar changes to their names and logos in recent years, many of them adding the words “medical center” or “institute.”
Carolinas HealthCare System, Charlotte’s other major hospital system, underwent a series of name changes over the past two decades to convey its ever-widening market.
The current system name came into use in 1996, replacing the legal title Charlotte-Mecklenburg Hospital Authority. Its longtime flagship Charlotte Memorial Hospital was renamed Carolinas Medical Center in 1990. After buying Mercy Hospital and Mercy Hospital South from the Sisters of Mercy in 1995, the system changed those names to Carolinas Medical Center-Mercy and Carolinas Medical Center-Pineville in 2001.
A Presbyterian tradition
Presbyterian Hospital accepted its first patient on Jan. 1, 1903. Ten doctors from the North Carolina Medical College had purchased the former Charlotte Private Hospital, and they immediately turned it over to the city’s six Presbyterian churches to operate.
The 20-bed hospital opened in a rented building on North Church Street in Charlotte. But later that year, it moved to the top two floors of the Arlington Hotel on West Trade Street. In 1918, the hospital acquired its current site – the former Elizabeth College on Hawthorne Lane – when it was still far outside the city limits.
Some Charlotteans expressed regret at the diminishing of the Presbyterian brand. “There’s a lot of nostalgia with the name Presbyterian Hospital,” said Dr. James Boyd, a cancer specialist who practices primarily at Presbyterian. “That hospital was established in 1903. There’s a lot of tradition with it. It’s a part of the Charlotte community.”