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Community Clinic Association of Los Angeles County

ParkTree Community Health Center: Expanding Its Value to the Community Through Innovation

To be the medical home for the underserved in our community by providing high quality preventive and primary care health services.Founded in 1995, ParkTree Community Health Center (formerly Pomona Community Health Center) is a 501(c)(3) Federally Qualified Health Center that aims to be the “Medical Home” for the underserved in the communities it serves by providing high quality preventive and primary care health services.  For us, being the medical home is not just to fulfill some new trend or to receive status.  It’s to walk the walk and talk the talk to be our best for our patients, their families and our community.

As we entered 2015, we asked ourselves “what else can/should we be doing to fulfill our mission of becoming the Medical Home for our patients?”  But, rather than sitting in a room randomly coming up with ideas, we took a more innovative approach, embarking on a series of strategic projects that ended up reshaping our organization and positioning us to bring significantly more value to our patients.

Some staff members from Parktree Community Health Center. The flowers hanging from the tree are a part of our incentive program for CARE TEAMS to increase cervical cancer screening.

First, with the help of an outside consultant who specializes in helping non-profits develop strategic plans, we developed our strategic plan, which laid out our growth vision and detailed specific future goals for the organization.  Out of this process, key initiatives included:  , 1) expanding the range of services we provide our patients, 2) opening new facilities to reach a broader underserved patient base and 3)  updating our brand communication strategy

Strategic plan in hand, we then retained a strategic marketing firm, BottomLine Marketing (BLM), to help us develop a more focused, harder-hitting brand communication strategy; one that better reflected the value we bring to our communities.  The communication strategy also needed to include brand imagery that reflected the compassionate care we deliver.  To better understand the value we bring our patients, the BLM team interviewed several members of our management team and Board, and more importantly, they conducted over 20 one-on-one interviews with our patients.  They also took a look at how other Community Health Centers and health care providers were communicating their benefits and services in our communities.

From this work, the BLM team identified several benefits that were unique to PCHC.  We always kind of knew these were some of the things that made us different and were important to our patients, but there’s nothing like hearing it directly from our patients!  The key things we learned were:

  • PCHC has a highly engaged healthcare team who takes the time to listen to each and every patient and treats them with the dignity and respect they deserve. Patients REALLY value this!
  • Patients also recognized that the members of the PCHC team are strong advocates for them, providing excellent pre-visit, in-visit and post-visit communication and care. They love the follow-up calls and care.

We also identified some important brand personality traits that helped guide the development of a new name, logo, brand imagery and overall look and feel.  These personality traits are part of our DNA and drive how we behave each and every day:

  • Compassionate/caring
  • Goes the extra mile
  • Friendly
  • Skilled/knowledgeable
  • Teamwork

All of this work has led to innovative actions and results!  As mentioned above, we have a new name – ParkTree Community Health Center – which reflects the warmth and friendliness of our staff and the vitality of the diverse communities we serve.  The new name also facilitated our expanded geographic footprint beyond our Pomona home.  With the new name came a whole new look and feel, including a new logo, color palette and imagery that help generate the feelings and emotions of our brand personality:

To be the medical home for the underserved in our community by providing high quality preventive and primary care health services.

We’re also aggressively pursuing plans to expand our dental ( pediatric) and behavioral health capabilities, to essentially become the one-stop Medical Home for all of our patients’ healthcare needs.  And our communications, both in the community (mailers, etc.) and in our healthcare facilities (posters, flyers, etc.) now focus on our key benefits and the value our patients told us we deliver to them.

Finally, we’re ensuring our healthcare staff embodies our brand personality traits and we’re ensuring all future hires demonstrate these behaviors before joining our team.  Bottom line, we’re building a culture that is based on caring, purpose and service, and we’re excited for what the future holds.

Throughout this process, we’ve learned much; however, the two most important lessons we learned are:  There’s tremendous value in living your ideals and modelling the type of care you want to provide such as a medical home. And it’s critically important to gain one-on-one feedback from our patients to understand what THEY value about our programs and services.  What they think matters most!

It’s been an exciting, exhilarating couple of years and we know we’re where we are because we were open to taking a more innovative approach to developing our growth and brand communication strategies.  And we’re glad we were, as we’re now poised for tremendous growth in our capacity to bring value to the communities we serve.