Medical tablet theft and i-pad theft are an increasing concern as more and more medical providers and facilities see the value of this technology and are integrating it in the healthcare profession. The theft of an i-pad carries with it not only the actual cost of the hardware, but also the potential compromise of patient information. I have written previously that one solution to prevent the theft of medical i-pads is the use of Alpha Thunder Tags and electronic article surveillance antennas. It has crossed my mind that if medical facilities can protect their own devices with anti-theft devices, what about the potential to also protect patient’s tablets and i-pads from theft?
Before I go on, you may be not be familiar with Alpha Thunder Tags so let me first tell you a little about what the tag is and how it prevents medical i-pad theft or tablet theft. The Thunder Tag is a reusable, anti-theft device that is attached to a mobile medical device. If tampered with, the tag emits a loud, piercing alarm. If it is carried within the range of an electronic article surveillance (EAS) antenna located near a doorway or entrance, the antenna alarm activates and staff is warned that someone is attempting to walk out with a device. The 3 Alarm version of the tag also has a built in alarm that will sound if the protected device is carried past the EAS antenna.
My thinking on the subject is this; theft from hospital patients is a very real issue. While it may not be commonplace, there are numerous documented incidents of theft from patients and some of these have included tablet and i-pad theft. Here are some examples:
In a Sept. 12, 2014 story, according to dailybruin.com, a medical student allegedly stole an i-pad from a dying woman.
n a Globalnews.ca, 17 April 2013 article, a new mother had her wallets and i-pad stolen from her hospital room in a Canadian hospital.
According to App.com in a 26 December 2015 article, an AristaCare at Whiting assisted-living facility nursing assistant was accused of stealing i-pads as well as other personal belongings from patients.
Pix 11.com reported on July 24, 2015, that from January to May a serial thief was sneaking into rooms and stealing valuables. On 1 May 2015 the subject stole a tablet from an elderly man’s room.
Suppose a medical center is taking steps to protect themselves from tablet theft and i-pad theft by using Alpha Thunder Tags. The hospital would already have the EAS antennas in place to detect devices being removed from the facility. Now consider as a part of the check in process for patients, the offering of Alpha Thunder Tags for patient laptops and i-pads. If accepted, facility staff could apply a tag to the patient’s device and upon checkout; staff could remove the tag with their controlled removal tool. If a thief attempted to steal a patient’s i-pad or tablet, the same system protecting hospital equipment would also protect patients.
From a public relations standpoint, offering anti-theft protection to patients for personal devices could be a significant boost to customer trust and satisfaction. For liability purposes, offering such devices could reduce hospital responsibility if a loss took place and a patient had refused the option of a Thunder Tag. I am not a legal expert, but it would seem to me that if the situation were to arise and a healthcare facility could show that the same protection they use for their equipment was offered to a patient and it was refused, responsibility would then seem to have to be borne by the victim.
There should be no question that protecting hospital i-pads and tablets from theft has to be a requirement, considering the costs associated with lost patient data. With a system already in place, why not offer the same protections of Alpha Thunder Tags to patients and earn the trust of your clientele?
For more information on Alpha Thunder Tags, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547