As Texas’ largest public health system, Harris Health provides low-cost care for hundreds of thousands of patients each year. So when the changing healthcare landscape had Houston-area residents looking elsewhere, we knew we had to reinvent Harris Health in the public’s eyes—and inspire faith in a new kind of public health system.

Harris Health System had historically been at the forefront of healthcare. Formed in 1965 as the Harris County Hospital District, it quickly grew into the largest public health system in Texas and later implemented the state’s first fully integrated electronic health records. Couple that with a robust primary care network deeply rooted in the Houston community, and Harris Health connected providers and patients like few others could.

Yet as the industry evolved, so too did public perceptions. Whereas “healthcare” traditionally meant “hospital,” today’s consumers expect much, much more. Research showed Harris Health was far from patients’ first choice, with many citing long wait times and an uninspired patient experience. And with healthcare reform on the way, Harris Health stood to lose one-fourth of Medicaid patients, who would suddenly have their choice of providers.

Standing room only at Jefferson Davis Hospital where the Pediatrics Clinic was swamped by children with flu-like infections on Feb. 25, 1963.
Richard Pipes, Houston Chronicle

First order of business: unify the system’s independent hospitals under a cohesive branded identity. Harris Health first approached Langrand after decades of failed attempts to shift brand strategy and secure a new name behind them—which we were able to achieve thanks to extensive consumer research and outreach to the health system’s stakeholders.

In addition to a redesigned identity, we developed a campaign to train more than 7,000 employees in a new patient experience and a singular brand promise: becoming a champion for better health. Through these concentrated efforts, both internal and external, the new Harris Health System increased employee engagement to 71%, improved perception to a record high and, perhaps most importantly, resulted in 92% of patients saying they would now recommend Harris Health.

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