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Highlights: UW Medicine is top in consumers’ minds for healthcare

  • Consumers said they consider UW Medicine the best healthcare organization in Washington state.
  • Adults in our three-county market (King, Pierce, Snohomish) prefer UW Medicine for care more than any other organization.
  • Having the best doctors and nurses is one of the top reasons consumers prefer UW Medicine.

Evaluating our performance against patient experience and quality metrics should be familiar to folks at UW Medicine. But there’s a measurement that fewer people are familiar with — one for which UW Medicine also stands out.

It’s known as brand perception, which refers to what healthcare consumers think about us and share with others. A positive brand perception means that people are more likely to choose UW Medicine than another healthcare organization when they need care.

Brand perceptions are shaped in many ways, says Glenn Bieler, UW Medicine’s chief marketing and communications officer and head of the Strategic Marketing & Communications team. These “touchpoints” include stories people read in the media, social media posts, digital and traditional promotions (e.g., television spots, digital advertising, transit ads), and community engagement. They also include people’s own personal experiences with a brand.

“Coke or Pepsi? Apple or Microsoft? Nike or Reebok? These are classic examples of towering brands that compete for customers,” says Bieler. “Healthcare is different from consumer goods, of course. But like any brand, we want to be known as the top one in consumers’ hearts and minds. Turns out, we are.”

Results of the comprehensive brand assessment

UW Medicine engaged NRC Health, a national market research firm focused on healthcare and patient experience, to comprehensively assess the UW Medicine brand. This summer, they conducted an online survey of adults over the age of 18 throughout the state. The survey included questions about participant perceptions of UW Medicine and other healthcare organizations — here are the key takeaways.

When asked to rate the level of care provided by nine healthcare organizations, 60% of respondents across the state and 68% in King, Pierce and Snohomish counties chose UW Medicine as either the best or one of the best.


  • The factors that respondents said they most often associated with UW Medicine were:
    • Strong image/reputation
    • Positive reputation of its staff
    • Ability to care for a wide variety of conditions/illnesses
    • Advanced technology or equipment
    • Previously providing them with a positive experience
  • Respondents chose UW Medicine most often as their preferred healthcare organization because it has a strong image (59%), it’s known for having the best doctors and nurses (56%) and it’s affiliated with a medical school (49%).

“When healthcare is your service, your brand depends on the positive feelings that your patients and their families have about accessing your services and how they feel after being treated at UW Medicine,” says Timothy Dellit, MD, interim CEO of UW Medicine and interim dean of the UW School of Medicine. “Our teams work hard to make sure they are exceptional in everything they do, from advancing scientific discovery to the bedside, educating the next generation of healthcare professionals, and providing outstanding care to every patient.”

“A higher degree of healthcare” tagline resonates with patients

In 2019, the Strategic Marketing and Communications team conducted a brand positioning study to understand how to uniquely position UW Medicine in consumers’ minds versus competitor healthcare organizations. From this work, the team created a new tagline for UW Medicine: A higher degree of healthcare. This tagline positions UW Medicine as the highest-quality healthcare organization, acknowledging our unique role as the only academic health system in the five-state WWAMI (Washington, Wyoming, Alaska, Montana, Idaho) region.

This tagline has since been used in many UW Medicine promotions, including brand advertising and on the website. To test consumers’ emotional associations with the tagline, survey respondents were asked to choose from a list of positive and negative attributes the words that best described what they felt after hearing the tagline. Their top five answers were “hopeful,” “optimistic,” “interested,” “safe” and “confident.”

“The tagline communicates our unique strengths in our market. We integrate high-quality equitable patient care with top-tier medical education and research,” says Cynthia Dold, MPP/MPH, interim president of UW Medicine Hospitals & Clinics. “We’re gratified to hear that this tagline resonates with people.”

Visit the landing page to read some of the many stories highlighting how UW Medicine provides a higher degree of healthcare for our patients. This page is frequently updated with new stories. If you have a story that exemplifies our tagline, please email