If you thought NHIN sounded familiar …
The federal government will be losing whatever brand equity it has developed over the past six years in what was to be called the National Health Information Network. Seems the feds have been interlopers on that name.
In 2004, David Brailer, the first head of the Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology, started planning for what he and everyone else in healthcare ever since have been calling the NHIN. Now we learn it’s time to say goodbye to the NHIN, at least as the name for a federally promoted framework for health information interoperability.
One of the earliest expressions of an alternative name for the NHIN surfaced Oct. 20 in a PowerPoint presentation by John Lumpkin, the chairman of the governance work group of the federally chartered Health IT Policy Committee. Lumpkin’s coinage was the NW-HIN, which stands for Nationwide Health Information Network.
What gives? One likely reason for the impending switch is that National Health Information Network and NHIN both are service marks, the latter being initially registered in 1998, according to the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. Both service marks are owned by a Texas firm that provides software and services to the prescription drug industry.
In an e-mail statement, Peter Garrett, director of communications for the ONC, made no mention of the patent issue. Garrett did not return several calls asking for comment about the service mark conflict. Rather, Garrett’s e-mail said ONC was “developing a new brand identity” for the nationwide network.
Brailer apparently didn’t know NHIN was already taken.