In SMPL Q+A, we interview our practitioners on all things relevant to branding, design and simplicity. Here, we speak with Brian Rafferty, Global Director, Business Analytics & Insights; Derrick Mead, Former Director, Brand Communication; and Senior Account Manager Simone Schuster about our work with athenahealth. The brand partners with healthcare organizations of all sizes and provides them with the technology, insights and expertise to help them drive better clinical and financial results. Learn more by visiting


Account Management

Why did athenahealth engage Siegel+Gale?

Simone Schuster: In 2018, two companies were brought together with decades of experience in healthcare technology: athenahealth and Virence Health. With that union and an expansion in technology and services, athenahealth was ready to revisit its brand strategy and messaging. With the goal of elevating the brand’s status, Siegel+Gale was brought on to partner with athenahealth to position the company as a trusted industry leader by uncovering the emotional benefits that make the brand unique and relevant.

Business Analytics & Insights

Can you explain the new brand strategy?

Brian Rafferty: The brand strategy comes from the insight that athenahealth’s intimate understanding of healthcare and their deep relationships allows them to see what others can’t – from details that need fixing in the patient/physician experience to the big opportunities for real change. Their data and relationships enable them to make connections others can’t and truly transform the practice of healthcare, creating healthier futures for us all.

Why was this a pivotal moment for athenahealth to revitalize its strategy?

BR: Now was the time to revitalize the brand as athenahealth, under new leadership, had a reenergized, driven focus to truly transform healthcare. The organization needed a brand that would serve as a strong asset in this mission to relentlessly improve and modernize the healthcare experience using technology and data. A revitalized brand would help the company take its growth to the next level and serve as a flagship in creating healthier futures for all.

Brand Communication

How does the new strategy, brand story and voice elevate the positioning of how athenahealth shows up in the market?

Derrick Mead: athenahealth’s offering has evolved over time, from a focus on electronic medical records to a comprehensive suite of digital tools for medical practices—patient engagement, revenue management, even diagnostic assistance. The new strategy crystalizes how athenahealth, as the fulcrum of all these offerings, has unique perspective into healthcare today. Their new brand story and voice make this complex informational ecosystem and athenahealth’s critical role in improving outcomes for both patients and providers simple to understand and explain in clear, ownable language.

What inspired the new brand voice? 

DM: We’re often tasked with explaining enablement compellingly: “our product x lets you do like nothing else.” While this is true of athenahealth, whose software does make life easier for doctors and experiences better for patients, there’s still more to it. Their tools also connect parts of a fragmented system that have never been in touch with one another, improving healthcare in ways that weren’t previously possible. We explored different ways to capture this metaphorically, and realized that explaining exactly what athenahealth does simply was the most powerful solution. Their new voice reinforces saying what’s meant, without jargon, clearing the way to communicating athenahealth’s aspiration of using technology to let people take better care of people.