Clarian hospital system to adopt IU name

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

Clarian Health will change its name to Indiana University Health early next year, the Indianapolis-based hospital system announced Wednesday morning.

Clarian, which will leave intact the names of its oldest hospitals, is betting the IU name carries more punch around Indiana than its own corporate brand. It also hopes to use the IU name to create a national brand, after the model of the Cleveland Clinic or the University of Pittsburgh Medical Center.

The Clarian name has existed for 14 years as the name of the not-for-profit joint venture formed when the Methodist Church and the IU School of Medicine merged their three Downtown hospitals—Methodist,  Riley Hospital for Children and the IU hospital.

But after a decade of acquisitions and aggressive building, Clarian now operates 16 hospitals around the state. It employs nearly 22,000 workers and has annual revenue of nearly $3.8 billion.

“Obviously, we’ve grown in size dramatically,” said Clarian CEO Dan Evans. But, he added, “The Clarian name and brand was not recognized by customers, referring physicians and others as a statewide academic system.”

Clarian gleaned that insight from surveys and focus groups of 1,400 patients, family members, doctors and staff. Evans said the results clearly showed the IU name meant more than the Clarian name.

“Whatever we lose in brand equity with Clarian,” Evans said, “we more than make up with the IU name.”

Others generally agreed.

Ed Abel, a hospital accountant at Indianapolis-based Blue & Co., said the name change could give Clarian a competitive boost.

“There’s obviously only one medical school in the state. They train a significant number of all the clinicians who practice in the state of Indiana,” he said. “It’s very significant.”

Clarian will retain the name of Methodist and Riley in Indianapolis, Ball Memorial in Muncie, and others. Those hospitals now put the words “A Clarian Health Partner” after their names. So they will likely just change that tagline to “An IU Health Partner,” Evans said.

But newer hospitals, such as the Clarian West Medical Center in Avon, would change to the IU Health West hospital, or something similar, Evans said. A hospital such as Goshen Hospital could change its name to IU Health-Goshen Hospital, he said.

Evans said an uncertain number of Clarian’s 40 different operating brands will go away. The names and other brand materials will be unveiled in the first quarter of 2011.

Jim Walton, president of Indianapolis-based Brand Acceleration, said the overall move makes sense. He also applauds Clarian for keeping the names of historic hospitals.

“That’s smart,” he said. “It carries a lot of weight in the local communities.”

His concern about the name change, however, is more for IU than for Clarian.

“You’re trying to hang two brands on one name. That has the potential to either strengthen both or weaken both,” he said. “I don’t think it necessarily creates confusion about what Indiana University Health is, but it creates confusion about what IU’s focus is [as a school].”

In a statement, IU President Michael McRobbie said, “Indiana University is very proud of its longstanding partnership with the Methodist Church … it is appropriate that the name reflect IU’s strong commitment to the partnership through the IU School of Medicine and IU’s other health science schools, and the vital mission of this partnership throughout the state.”

When Clarian formed on Jan. 1, 1997, the physician staffs of Methodist and IU hospitals fretted and feuded over which would be pre-eminent. But Evans said the new name does not reflect the victory of IU’s medical staff over Methodist’s.

“There are some folks that are uncomfortable being called by the other name. But for the vast majority,” he added, “that’s old stuff now.”


  • fgdg
  • I U Morgue
    As a Purdue grad, I wouldn't want to be caught dead in an IU morgue!
  • Cost???
    How much does it cost to change the name? Has anyone calculated the bottom line number?
  • Don't be fooled
    Don't be fooled--this is just one more step in the IU School of Medicine's ultimate goal to take over all of Clarian. Anyone with knowledge of the inner workings of Clarian knows that the leadership has always favored IU and it's policies. From boards loaded with IU members, to uniforms with IU colors, to medical groups being forced to adopt IU policies, it's been driven by IU's interests. Will it provide better care? That is yet to be seen. It certainly drives revenues. I wonder how the for-profit hospitals in Avon and Carmel will be managed. As long as they end up enriching the University then the leadership will be happy.
  • Bad idea for IU
    Not sure this is a good move for IU. Having their name explicitly attached to all the hospitals currently with the Clarian name could have unintended negative PR consequences. What happens when a hospital in the system experiences a bad PR situation? The IU name will directly be related to the incident. That's why the drug companies distance the association of their corporate brand from the drug product brand in case of a negative incident.

    IU needs to rethink this potential PR nightmare.
  • Of Course!!
    It is about time the Marketing "experts" and the University realize Indiana University and the IU Medical Center carry name recognition and value. I wonder how much money could have been spent on improving medical care and equipment was spent promoting Clarion to a dead-end and now will have to be spent converting Clarion promotion back to IU. What a waste.

    Post a comment to this story

    We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
    You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
    Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
    No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
    We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

    Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

    Sponsored by

    facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
    Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
    Subscribe to IBJ
    1. If I were a developer I would be looking at the Fountain Square and Fletcher Place neighborhoods instead of Broad Ripple. I would avoid the dysfunctional BRVA with all of their headaches. It's like deciding between a Blackberry or an iPhone 5s smartphone. BR is greatly in need of updates. It has become stale and outdated. Whereas Fountain Square, Fletcher Place and Mass Ave have become the "new" Broad Ripples. Every time I see people on the strip in BR on the weekend I want to ask them, "How is it you are not familiar with Fountain Square or Mass Ave? You have choices and you choose BR?" Long vacant storefronts like the old Scholar's Inn Bake House and ZA, both on prominent corners, hurt the village's image. Many business on the strip could use updated facades. Cigarette butt covered sidewalks and graffiti covered walls don't help either. The whole strip just looks like it needs to be power washed. I know there is more to the BRV than the 700-1100 blocks of Broad Ripple Ave, but that is what people see when they think of BR. It will always be a nice place live, but is quickly becoming a not-so-nice place to visit.

    2. I sure hope so and would gladly join a law suit against them. They flat out rob people and their little punk scam artist telephone losers actually enjoy it. I would love to run into one of them some day!!

    3. Biggest scam ever!! Took 307 out of my bank ac count. Never received a single call! They prey on new small business and flat out rob them! Do not sign up with these thieves. I filed a complaint with the ftc. I suggest doing the same ic they robbed you too.

    4. Woohoo! We're #200!!! Absolutely disgusting. Bring on the congestion. Indianapolis NEEDS it.

    5. So Westfield invested about $30M in developing Grand Park and attendance to date is good enough that local hotel can't meet the demand. Carmel invested $180M in the Palladium - which generates zero hotel demand for its casino acts. Which Mayor made the better decision?