New and innovative uses for i-pads and tablets are constantly being found in the medical field. From apps for medical students that familiarize students with murmurs, stenosis (for non-medical readers, an abnormal narrowing of a body passage or opening) or gallops (an abnormal heart rhythm that pounds in the chest) called “Littman SoundBuilder” to “Eponyms” used by doctors and healthcare providers for looking up disease information or symptoms (information found in meded.umn.edu). These applications are helping doctors to better diagnose and treat patients with information available at the touch of a finger to a screen. As the use of the mobile medical devices grows in hospitals and doctor’s offices, so does the chance of an i-pad theft or tablet theft. From a dishonest employee stealing a device from a secured office to a customer picking up a tablet left unattended on a counter, opportunities abound for a device to be taken and the information contained in it to be compromised. This is very concerning if the device holds patient data. The possibility of medical device theft can be significantly reduced if the medical office attaches an Alpha Thunder Tag to their i-pads or tablets.
An Alpha Thunder Tag is a theft prevention device that is attached directly to the item that is to be protected, in this case a medical i-pad. It should be noted that the Tag can be attached to medical computer tablets and laptops just as well as an i-pad. The tag has a tamper alarm that is activated when an attempt is made to pry it off. It also activates an electronic article surveillance (EAS) antenna when carried into the vicinity of the antenna. When properly set up, a hospital or medical office has antennas established at all entry/exit points. This keeps someone from slipping a device out of a side or back door without attracting attention. One of the fantastic features of a Thunder Tag is that is can be “sensed” by the antennas even when it is hidden in a bag or purse or under clothing. When the antenna alarm is set off, a loud noise and electronic lights built into the antenna warns employees an i-pad theft is taking place.
In what ways are medical i-pads and tablets being used in the medical field that is making them a game changer in the way medical care is being delivered (and potentially increasing the likelihood of theft)? In a 17 July 2016 post, on cnbc.com titled, “The doctor is in…your i-Pad! Cleveland Clinic’s digital push”, by Trent Gillies, one new thing the Cleveland Clinic has been trying out is a “virtual visit” “with a doctor using a tablet, smart phone, or desktop.” Interviewing Cleveland Clinic President and CEO, Toby Cosgrove, Cosgrove points out that virtual visits allow patients to avoid lines and waiting times. He allows that the visits are not for checking on a cardiac disease, but would be suitable for looking at skin problems, or a follow up from a heart surgery or a surgery where a doctor just needs to see how an incision is healing.
Another use for the i-pad in medicine comes from the UTHealth Medical School. On their website, med.uth.edu in an article, “ipads come in handy in gross anatomy”, it states that “students are using the tablets to look up anatomical drawings while examining bodies.” Books and computers posed problems for the students, “The problem is that cadavers are preserved with a chemical called phenol, which can get on book pages and washable computer keyboards…lab officials wrapped the iPads in clear plastic bags which protect the tablets while allowing students to call up information on the touchscreen.”
Whatever the use, mobile devices are becoming more common in the medical world and so are the opportunities for i-pad theft or tablet theft depending on which device is being employed. Protecting against the theft of the devices is not difficult, use an Alpha Thunder Tag on each device and protect your practice and patients from medical device and identity theft.
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