County commissioners in Durham, North Carolina, recently voted to change the name of Durham Regional Hospital in order to boost its reputation. The renamed Duke Regional Hospital, which is operated by the Duke University Health System but owned by the county, says renaming the hospital will help attract patients given Duke’s world-renowned reputation.
“Duke Medicine is one of the strongest brands in healthcare,” said Katie Galbraith, chief of hospital operations. “People who move to this area tend to recognize the Duke name, and we feel that changing our name puts us in the best position for future growth.”
The hospital was originally known as Durham County General Hospital and opened its doors in 1976. In the 1990s, the name was changed to Durham Regional Hospital so that it would be a sign of improved service to residents of nearby counties. Duke University Health System and Durham Regional Hospital signed a partnership in 1998 to address financial difficulties, and it has ever since been managed by Duke.
Durham County, North Carolina
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
According to The Chronicle, the board of trustees at the newly renamed Duke Regional Hospital unanimously agreed on a proposal for the change several weeks ago. The board soon made a request to the county commissioners to take action and learned of the approval from county manager Michael Ruffin.
“We feel that from a marketing point of view, the hospital needs this branding to reach new people,” said county commissioner Michael Page. “The rich history and tradition of Duke will give credence to the hospital when people are making decisions about their medical care.”
U.S. News and World Report rates Durham Regional North Carolina’s fifth best hospital and Duke University Medical Center number one. Duke is also ranked the eighth best hospital in the country.
Changing Durham Regional Hospital’s name to Duke Regional may turn out to be an extraordinarily practical way to help patients asked by emergency medical services which hospital they would like to select. Many believe patients would prefer the Duke name.
According to The Herald-Sun, Commissioner Ellen Reckhow is skeptical of the lasting benefits of changing the name of the hospital given that Duke Regional will still have to compete for patients with Duke University Hospital.
“People shorten, and I imagine EMS folks would say [to patients], ‘Where would you rather go, Duke or Regional,’” she said. “If you have a choice of Duke or Regional, people will still pick Duke.”
Duke University Medical Center
Image courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Reckhow also said that she was disinclined to change the name because “it’s important for people to know that the hospital isn’t just an annex or a part of the Duke health system.”
Nevertheless, most hospital administrators are optimistic about the name change. According to the hospital’s president, Kerry Watson, the change is in line with the hospitals aim of becoming North Carolina’s best community hospital.
“We’ve deliberated on this a lot and done a lot of research, and we feel that [the name change] will support us in offering the best possible patient care,” he said.
The NewsObserver also reports that in a recent survey, residents of Durham County, particularly those new to the area, said that they preferred the name Duke Regional to Durham Regional as their hospital of choice. Michael Page said there were many good reasons to support the change. Hopefully, he will be proved right.
If you are a lab supplier or research scientist interested in networking with others in your field who are a part of the Duke University Health System, Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. invites you to attend our Duke BioResearch Product Faire Event, held next on May 9, 2013. Biotechnology Calendar, Inc. is a full-service science research marketing and events-planning company that runs trade shows at top research institutions across the country. If you are interested in attending a trade show closer to home, we encourage you to take a look at our 2013 calendar of events.