Hospital Spotlight - Q&A with Ramon Soto, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Northwell Health

Hospital Spotlight - Q&A with Ramon Soto, Chief Marketing and Communications Officer, Northwell Health

by Sean Ruck, Contributing Editor | June 10, 2016
Ramon Soto
From the June 2016 issue of HealthCare Business News magazine

A quarter-century after its creation, the North Shore-Long Island Jewish (LIJ) Health System’s board of trustees recently approved a name change for New York state’s largest private employer and health care provider to Northwell Health. HealthCare Business News interviewed Ramon Soto of Northwell Health about that change and the facility’s vision for the future.

HCB News: So can we start at one of the big stories from this past year and talk about the name change?
RS:
North Shore-LIJ was the byproduct of a merger. The name was more a political accommodation to get the job done. When I came on board, I had three core responsibilities: find a new name for the organization; launch strategy for our brand; and build a world-class marketing function.

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Almost immediately, I hired a branding firm — Interbrand Health. We thought through 20 different ways to name the association. We came up with about 600 names. Because our system is so large, we compete in seven different categories of health care, so we had a high attrition rate in names, because if they’re not available in one category, they get kicked out in all.

We whittled it down to about 120 and then brought in senior leadership and went through methodology. We got to a cluster of about seven, did hard research and took that to two. We took it to an advisory council and came up with Northwell. The name works because “North” has tremendous attributes to tell the health care journey. And, of course, “well” is a signal of what we think the future of health care will be about. We did incredibly stringent analytics to determine if it was usable.

HCB News: What is Northwell best known for?
RS:
Value proposition is principally what we’re known for. We have 4 million patient visits a year out of a market of 8 million people — with 21 hospitals, 450 community and ambulatory facilities, 61,000 employees and world class research with more than 2,000 scientists and staff, and an insurance company that serves 100,000 in the New York market.

We’ve opened the first new allopathic medical school in New York in 40 years and we’re training students as EMTs on our ambulances within days after they arrive, so they gain experience delivering right away. We’re delivering an incredibly powerful story of innovation that was missing from our story before. We firmly believe we’re shaping the future of health care. We talked to about 3,000 consumers to determine how they make health care decisions. You identify your need, go to consideration and then buy. From there, you focus on loyalty and advocacy. Providers that offer the latest innovations in health care ranked higher up in terms of consumer preference.

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