Health Care Brand: More Than a Logo

In Toledo, Ohio, HKS is working with ProMedica to promote health and wellness in the community, through strategic building design. The health system is embarking on several major projects in the city, including creation of a headquarters and a health and wellness center along the downtown riverfront, and construction of a replacement tower on the organization’s flagship hospital campus. HKS is integrating the ProMedica brand into the design of these projects.

I recently spoke on this topic at the Healthcare Facilities Symposium and Expo with Steve Jacobson, principal with HKS, Inc. and Karen Strauss, chief marketing officer with ProMedica.

A health care brand is so much more than a logo or specific color palette. While these can help express a brand image, the brand itself is based on the central, distinctive and enduring characteristics that cause patients to identify with a healthcare organization. ProMedica has defined its primary corporate values as compassion, innovation, teamwork and excellence. The organization aims for a responsive attitude, which it expresses through contemporary design and an emphasis on revitalizing the urban fabric of Toledo.

The riverfront project provides an excellent platform for articulating these values, as they relate to the ProMedica brand. The Toledo Edison steam plant, a Daniel Burnham-designed gem built in the late 1800s that has sat vacant since 1985, will be renovated to become ProMedica’s new corporate headquarters. The adjacent former KeyBank building is also part of the headquarters, housing work areas for administrative functions, as well as space for amenities. The project also includes a parking deck, and improvements to and preservation of the city’s neighboring Promenade Park, a prime greenspace along Toledo’s Maumee River. When completed, the project is expected to bring nearly 1,000 employees to the downtown location, spurring additional economic growth in the area.

ProMedica’s brand values are intrinsic to the design of this project. At the headquarters, for example, these values are conveyed through details like sustainable and responsible landscaping, clear wayfinding, conveniently located services, clear vertical and horizontal site lines that promote connectivity within the building and a monumental stair that encourages movement. Registration desks are designed to be approachable and immediately visible for a welcoming greeting on arrival.

On the operational side, there are efficient, performance-based work areas for headquarters employees responsible for supporting the large network of caregivers in the clinical environments. These spaces provide optimal conditions for effectiveness, while modular planning promotes long-term flexibility in the use of space.

An integrated approach to daylighting improves the indoor environment; this approach includes courtyards that offer a connection to nature, as well as daylight. A variety of gathering spaces distributed throughout the design support collaboration, learning, activity, engagement and respite.

A similar design strategy is being used for Generations Tower, a 13-story, 302-bed patient tower on the campus of ProMedica Toledo Hospital and Toledo Children’s Hospital. Here, too, design details promote sustainability, responsibility, empathy, connectivity and approachability, as well as an efficient environment for effective caregiving.