I get accused of being too critical of administrators at times. Some get angry when I say things like they use us doctors as pawns, they replicate like Administribbles, they speak a language (administralian) to confuse us, they are overpaid and that they don’t really do much. Well, I am here to apologize. I was recently stunned and humbled by an email I received. The following letter was sent to me by a loyal reader of this blog who luckily found it. It is by a hospital CEO:
I truly appreciated the hospitality, level of engagement and open, candid conversations with physicians during my visits to the eight Beaumont Health hospitals in April. I have learned a lot about the people and the culture of the organization. From everything that I’ve seen, Beaumont Health is comprised of great people who really care about taking care of patients and families. This tells me that, by working together, we will be successful in improving the health and wellbeing of the population we serve and will become a leader in high quality, affordable care for Michigan and beyond.
During my visits, the most frequently asked question was when we would have a new logo, color and hospital names. I am pleased to inform you we are very close to a decision and will be presenting a recommendation to our board for input and approval.
This is an important decision, so we are proceeding carefully and basing it on research. Last year, we engaged a national consultant to conduct internal research on naming and color who interviewed 106 executives, physicians, leaders and board members.
In research conducted in January, 70 percent of the market was unaware of the affiliation of BHS, Botsford and Oakwood, although, fortunately, 80 percent felt positively about it when made aware. To help raise awareness, the phrase “part of Beaumont Health” was added to print, radio and billboard advertisements on May 1.
The selection of a logo, color and hospital names is not about us. It’s about the patients, and what name will be easiest for them, and what color patients prefer and will be easy to see in road signs and building signs.
Once our logo, color and individual hospital names are decided, our work really begins. We’ll launch a new awareness campaign and you’ll begin to see new signs, stationery, badges, etc. We then have to define what we want our brand to stand for in the eyes of our patients and the community.
That brand promise will be brought to life by all of you in your daily interactions with patients and families. Advertising may get patients in the door, but it’s the medical care and experience that you provide that makes them want to come back again and again.
If we all keep patients and families in the center of what we do, we will do well for them, and Beaumont Health will be an organization we’ll all be proud to be a part of.
Thank you for all you do.
CEO, Beaumont Health
You see these are big decisions. Forget paying the nursing staff more. Forget retaining doctors. Forget keeping the prices low for patients. That only comes (maybe) after we get the color right! Reread this section from above:
“This is an important decision, so we are proceeding carefully and basing it on research. Last year, we engaged a national consultant to conduct internal research on naming and color who interviewed 106 executives, physicians, leaders and board members.”
Yes, you read that right. It has taken a year for this big decision to get done. And I am sure the national consultant was cheap.
So, what color did they pick? Well, after many hours, by highly compensated staff, the debate raged on but ultimately came down to….drumroll please…cobalt blue. Yes, cobalt blue was “recommended by management and approved by “The Board” after extensive work by the marketing team working with outside branding experts and supported by internal and external research.”
I am sure these administrators are now saying, “Woosh. Thank god that decision is over. Now, onto bigger matters. How do we get a raise?”