The North Carolina Center for Hospital Quality and Patient Safety (also known as the North Carolina Quality Center, or NCQC) was created in 2004 by the North Carolina Hospital Association (NCHA). The purpose for NCQC was to serve as a resource and provide guidance to lead NC hospitals to become the safest and highest quality hospitals in the United States. As a Patient Safety and Healthcare Quality Assurance Organization, the NCQC is also part of the national Patient Safety Organizations (PSO) group.

Able&Co. was tasked to streamline a brand that had been targeted to hospital teams only. Our goal was to extend the NCQC brand, so it was also public facing, and ensure clear understanding of the new NCQC brand, purpose and relationship to the other groups.


When NCQC approached Able&Co., their team was contending with several brand issues. There was confusion over their name “North Carolina Quality Center”, and its relationship to the NCHA and PSO groups. Additionally, the brand identity was not patient-friendly or engaging to anyone outside of the medical industry.

Inside the organization, employees perceived their goal as a “watchdog group” instead of a resource for North Carolina healthcare providers. They also inappropriately referred to themselves as The Quality Center.

Visually, their complex and “homespun” image distracted and detracted from the organization’s mission and perceived reliability and competence both internally and externally. The most detrimental aspect of all was that their look and feel gave the impression that they weren’t tuned in to the most current solutions for patient safety.

NCQC’s website was also challenging to navigate due to the lack of cohesive content organization. This situation created a challenging user experience, which resulted in a decrease in engagement.


Through a series of interviews, surveys and workshops, Able&Co. began to help the NCQC team rediscover its vision and mission. In addition, we recognized that NCQC was undergoing a change management phase while it struggled to find its place within existing organizations and find its voice to its own staff, as well as healthcare professionals and patients. After developing a clear understanding of the organization’s needs, we began working on a strategy that would address their pain points and set them on the path to success.


Able&Co.’s strategy organized NCQC’s initiative into a cohesive, integrated brand plan. We crafted a friendly visual style and new iconography system. We introduced their new core message “Empowering Excellence in Healthcare” to emphasize the group’s prioritization of quality and communicate that NCHC was a resource.

A new website was designed and developed to meet the unique needs of two different audiences – one set of navigation highlighted topics of interest to the healthcare industry and providers, the other highlighted content of interest to patients and other non-medical personnel. The website also featured a reorganized resource library that made it easier to find and share content.

Finally, we developed a full system of branded collateral templates including stationery, presentations, displays and more.


Able&Co. worked with the NCQC team to accurately diagnose their issues, then we developed a clear strategy that addressed the steps needed to guide NCQC through their internal and external change management transition from ‘homespun’ to ‘trusted resource’. This strategic plan drove all elements for the final design, messaging and deliverables, resulting in cohesive, integrated deliverables that allowed the NCQC’s voice to shine.


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