Working in a medical facility or hospital, staff regularly handle confidential information. Most data and personal information is now digitalized and accessed through computers, laptops and now handheld devices. With this increased use of mobile technology, information security is increasingly at risk. According to Kevin Page and Phillip Hampton consultants for the American Bar Association, “On October 21, 2013, Alhambra, California-based AHMC Healthcare Inc. reported the theft of two unencrypted laptops containing the protected health information (“PHI”) of approximately 729,000 patients.” ( ABA Health eSource, Protecting PHI on Mobile DevicesVol. 10 No. 3 Kevin Page, Waller, Nashville, TN, Phillip Hampton, LogicForce Consulting, LLC, Nashville, TN.) As healthcare providers are moving away from paper records and increasing the use of portable devices to care for patients, it is important for data as well as the devices to be protected. These devices include laptops, i-pads, tablets and even smartphones. Technology has made it possible for medical professionals to access patient records with a few key strokes or a swipe of the finger. Trying to find methods to protect devices can be difficult, but the Alpha Thunder Tag can provide the security you need. Healthcare professionals have an obligation to protect the information of their patients and the tools they use to store and access that information.
The Alpha Thunder Tag has electronic article surveillance built into it and if it passes through an EAS antenna, the antenna alarm will sound and alert staff to a possible theft or a forgotten device. If someone attempts to remove a device there is a tamper alarm that will sound, again alerting staff to a possible theft of the unit. The Thunder Tag does come in a 3 alarm version that sounds not only the antenna alarm if someone tried to exit with it, the alarm built into the device will also sound an alert.
I decided to do a little investigating of my own to see what information was available on data breaches in the healthcare industry. I went to the U.S. Department of HHS to seek information. The Department of Health and Human Services Office for Civil Rights website has a report titled “Breaches Affecting 500 or More Individuals” (https://ocrportal.hhs.gov/ocr/breach/breach_report.jsf In order to get the most accurate information available for this article, I applied the following filters: Dates from 1/1/2015 – 11/1/2015, for “Types of Breach” I included ” Hacking IT Incidents”, “Theft”,” Loss” and “Unknown”, for “Location” I only included “ Laptop” and “Other Portable Devices”.) For “The Type of Covered Entity” I used “Health Provider”. With these filters I received a list of 39 reported incidents with a total of 464,166 “Individuals Affected”. Bear in mind, this report only included breaches where 500 or more individuals were affected. 499 individuals affected or less are not included in the report from the DHHS. If you don’t think that tablet theft or i-pad theft is a problem, it is my hope that these numbers may change your mind. Security of these devices cannot be taken lightly. The Alpha Thunder Tag used with an Electronic Article Surveillance System can help you protect your portable laptops and mobile devices.
Thieves do not necessarily consider whether a tablet theft will result in gaining useful information. The opportunist may take a laptop or i-pad simply because it is accessible. If a device is stolen and information is encrypted, sometimes the challenge to some criminals is to see if they can access information. If successful they then have to decide what type of information they have and if they can use any of it. Some hackers do what they do to see if it can be done and that’s all. Unfortunately, if your office or practice is the victim of a tablet theft or i-pad theft, you can’t know what is being done with the information lost. The liability risk for your practice is minimized when the Alpha Thunder Tag is used to protect against laptop, tablet, and i-pad theft.
Don’t allow your mobile devices to go unprotected. Limit the risk of losing your mobile devices and with them, patient information. Look into the protection afforded you by investing in Alpha Thunder Tags.
For more information on the Alpha Thunder Tag, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547