On April 22nd, 2017 in Fairfax County Virginia, a suspect was being sought in the theft of cash AND iPads from medical offices on the Inova Fair Oaks Medical Campus, according to an April 25th, 2017 report on the WJLA website, the story by Nancy Chen. The subject of the investigation is accused of 17 break-ins on the campus. A June 1, 2017 article on the website, laist, by Julia Wick, titled, “Massive Security Breach At Rodeo Drive Plastic Surgery Clinic Put Thousands Of Patient Files At Risk”, reported that “…an estimated 15,000 files containing medical and other personal information were stolen from their practice”. An Office Manager for the practice acting as spokesman said, “When we entered we saw that every bit of medical records had been taken including backup hard drives and iPads with patient information,…” The fact that patient information can be so easily compromised is disconcerting. Think about all of the information you provide to a doctor during a visit. Not long ago I made a visit to a doctor and I had to give them my name, address, social security number, place of employment, date of birth, medical insurance card and patient medical history. Interestingly enough I gave it via an iPad on a bracket at the sign in counter. That’s a lot of personal information for a criminal to get their hands on if there was an iPad theft at this location. The fact is, iPads were stolen at the two locations the articles mentioned. Granted these were break-ins versus thefts during operating hours but the devices are gone and with them any patient data that may have been stored on them. There is a device called a Bug Tag that can help prevent an iPad theft or medical tablet theft from a medical provider’s office.
The concern with a tablet or iPad is that they can be so small that they are easy to conceal in a purse, under a shirt, or in a cargo pants pocket. If a medical mobile device is stolen it is quite easy for a thief to hide the item(s) and stroll out of the building unnoticed. A Bug Tag is attached directly to the mobile device with an adhesive and tamper protections prevent someone from removing the tag without setting off a built in alarm in the tag. Along with placing the tags on tablets and iPads facilities set up electronic article surveillance (EAS) towers at entrances and areas where such devices do not need to be taken, such as at a point in front of restroom doors. Should someone approach a tower the sensor in the tower detects the Bug Tag and alarms in the tower are set off. Facility, staff and employees can respond and recover the device before it can be removed from the building or taken into an off-limits area.
I know that the stories I referenced were about break-ins and my point was to demonstrate that devices that have or potentially have patient information can be stolen and place patients at risk. But consider that on February 8, 2017 a criminal stole several iPads from the lobby of Leamington District Memorial Hospital. On March 23, 2016, two iPads were stolen from Hawke’s Bay Fallen Soldiers’ Memorial Hospital’s Children’s Ward according to OURHEALTH Hawke’s Bay’s website. The article states, “…the two stolen iPads – one belonging to the Hospital Play Specialist Service and the other the property of the Medical Team in the Children’s Ward.” These stories are reminders that iPad theft and medical tablet theft is a real problem and if not protected there is a good chance someone will try to steal them and the patient information they contain.
The job of the medical providers is to care for their patients. Take care of their health and their patient information. Place a Bug Tag on each of your iPads and tablets and an EAS tower at all of your entrances and off-limit areas.
Get more information on iPad Theft, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547 today.