I recently made another visit to a hospital for a relative. During the visit I caught myself looking around at the medical equipment and thinking about the issue of iPad theft and stolen medical identity. No, I wasn’t being insensitive I was waiting for the relative to be released by the nursing staff so there wasn’t much I could do to stay occupied. While I was glancing around the halls I saw several laptop carts left unattended. Because of my frequent visits to this hospital I also am aware that iPads or computer tablets are in use by staff. How easy would it be for a criminal to engage in iPad theft or computer theft with equipment left unattended? The potential for theft is problematic but the issue of medical identity theft as a result of a stolen device is a bigger concern. The remedy for the problem is simple. It would only require a Bug Tag to be attached to an iPad or Tablet and a Classic N10 electronic article surveillance tower to be set up at each door.
The Bug Tag is a device with electronic article surveillance circuitry built into it that sends out a radio wave. The Classic N10 tower is a receiver that can detect a tagged iPad, computer tablet or other device when carried with the detection radius of the tower. When the tag is detected pandemonium erupts. The tower alarms scream out a high pitched alert and LED lights flash on and off signaling nearby staff to respond and recover hospital equipment. If the tag is a 3 Alarm tag it will sound an internal alarm if the crook continues to exit the building and this alarm follows the thief where they go. What happens if the criminal just pulls the tag off of the device? No problem! The Bug Tag has a tamper alarm that will scream out 95 decibels of noise giving away what the culprit is trying to do.
Why am I more concerned about the loss of information contained on a mobile medical device than I am the device itself? In an article in Healthcare IT News by Bill Siwicki, Feb 20, 2017, “Study: One in four U.S. consumers have had their personal medical information stolen”, the author makes several scary points. “Twenty-six percent of U.S. consumers have had their personal medical information stolen from healthcare systems, according to results of a new study from Accenture released today at HIMSS17 in Orlando.” While the article does not go into detail on how the data breaches take place we know from the Department of Health and Human Services reporting that many potential breaches occur due to stolen computer devices. In 2018 alone 12 incidents of stolen computers or “other portable electronic devices” have been reported. The requirement is that the “Secretary must post a list of data breaches of unsecured protected health information affecting 500 individuals or more.” That means there could potentially be more incidents of theft and data breaches that are not reported if they are impacting less than 500 patients.
Mr. Siwicki goes on to say that, “…of those who experienced a breach were victims of medical identity theft and had to pay approximately $2500 in out-of-pocket costs per incident, on average.” It would be intolerable for patients to be responsible for such expenses due to a failure of the facility to provide adequate protection for devices when it would only take a Bug Tag and installation of Classic N10 towers to prevent many losses.
Loss Prevention Systems Inc. has the ability to equip all of your hand-held devices with the Bug Tag to prevent iPad theft and the potential theft of other equipment. They can point out the best locations to set up Classic N10 towers and train staff how to handle attempted device thefts. Why risk losing not only patient data but patient trust as well? Let Loss Prevention Systems Inc. protect your equipment and reputation as only they know how.
Get more information on a Bug Tag, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547 today.
In the past year I have been in hospitals and doctors offices far more than I would like. In some of those cases the hallways had ample room for gurneys and staff to rush by me as I walked to the rooms I was visiting. Admittedly when I heard the quick pace of feet and clatter of wheels, whether there was enough room or not, I found myself stepping against the wall. Instinctively I knew that if that was my loved one I would want them to get through to surgery as quickly as possible. Sometimes I would pass groups of doctors who were on their rounds reviewing notes on their i-Pads and tablets and discussing the patients they were ready to see or had just seen. In some cases this took place in the area of the nurse’s station and space was a little tighter. Again, being aware that they were busy I would make efforts to stay out of their way. As I reflect on those hospital and office visits I think about the activities that went on around me. Medical personnel with new technology in hand, life-saving equipment lining hallways, professional medical care givers moving patients in and out of rooms and down those same halls. It can start to feel a bit claustrophobic. Putting on my Loss Prevention hat I thought about all of these factors and what if questions. What if there is Tablet theft of those medical tablets? What if an electronic article surveillance (EAS) system could be installed to prevent i-Pad theft? Would there be room for the necessary EAS towers like the Checkpoint Classic N10?
In order to proceed with the answers to my questions it is only proper to explain what the Bug Tag and the Classic N10 are. The Tag is simply an anti-theft device that is stuck to a computer tablet and it interacts with an EAS tower. If a tagged mobile medical device is carried too close to a tower the tower alarm sounds a loud beeping noise and lights in the tower flash, alerting nearby employees someone is trying to walk out with a mobile device. If someone is trying to steal a medical tablet by tampering with a Bug Tag, an internal tag alarm sounds also alerting personnel of an attempted theft. The Classic N10 is an EAS tower specifically designed to fit smaller entryways and hallways. They don’t take up the same amount of space a traditional tower takes up. This allows ease of access even if something is being rushed through a hall or doorway such as a patient on a gurney or nurse rushing through a door with a crash cart. These towers won’t interfere with personnel or equipment.
It was only recently that I learned there is an organization that focuses on hospital space standards. The American Society for Healthcare Engineering looks at hospitals and issues related to effective building designs. In an article on their website, “ICC Considers Changing Corridor Width Rules to Reflect Shift from Life Safety Concerns”, by Deanna Martin, ASHE senior communications specialist, discussed the rules and regulations regarding hospital hallway widths. She mentions diverse views on whether the width requirements take into consideration equipment such as crash carts and whether they count against those measurements. Regardless of what the regulations may or may not say concerning medical facility halls, you can easily see how setting up a Classic N10 tower would take up a smaller amount of space and still accommodate the needs of complying with ICC codes.
Medical tablets and i-Pads would be protected from theft and the potential for compromised patient information since they would have a Bug Tag. Doorways and Hallways where you would want to keep mobile devices restricted to could be protected with EAS towers.
Keep patient data safe on mobile devices and keep lives safe with open corridors at the same time. Use a Bug Tag on tablets and Classic N10 towers in halls and doors. See how effective an EAS system can be for your medical facility.
For more information about Classic N10 contact us or call 1.770.426.0547.
i-Pads are getting used more and more these days in hospitals. From patient check-ins to entertainment for children in a doctor’s office to keep them calm new uses for Android tablets and i-pads are being discovered it seems on an almost daily basis. Our family has used i-pads at a “minute clinic” in a drug store for registering and filling out new patient information at a nationally known doctor office chain. But take a moment to think about this, if you have a queasy stomach drop to the next paragraph, if you are in a doctor’s office or you are visiting a “minute clinic” you are probably there because you or someone you are caring for is sick. That means all of those other people that visit there are probably also sick. Vomiting, coughing, dripping noses and creepy little viruses and bugs you can’t even pronounce are most likely waiting for you on the surfaces of whatever those patients touch, including mobile devices. This gives me cause for concern for the hospital on two points. From a security standpoint, many of the mobile devices are not protected to prevent theft. They may have protocols in place to try to prevent hacking but the devices themselves could be stolen along with any private information that may be contained on them. The second issue is the health concerns with shared tablets. I-Pad theft can be controlled by using a Bug Tag on each one and a Checkpoint Classic N10 pedestal at the doors to the building. The health issue is another matter altogether.
The i-Pads and Android tablets hospitals and physician’s offices are employing are being used to register patient’s, share medical information, store issued prescription and other HIPPA protected data. Should any of the information be compromised through data breaches or theft of mobile devices, the owning facility is held responsible. A Bug Tag can be attached to each device and provide electronic article surveillance protection (EAS) to prevent tablet or i-Pad theft. Since the tags have the EAS technology built into them when a tagged device is carried into the area of a door that has a Classic N10 pedestal there, the device will trigger an alarm within the pedestal. This alarm alerts staff that a device is being carried out and the i-Pad or tablet can be recovered saving both the hardware and the potential theft of protected personal information.
In an article in popsci.com, “I is for infection? The role of iPads in Pathogen Spread” by Jason Tetro, November 4, 2014, the writer cites a study in that took place at Northwestern University. “…in the Department of Pharmacy Practice. The group gave all 30 faculty members an iPad for their work. They were not given any instructions on how to care for the tablet nor how to clean it. Six months later the iPads were swabbed and the bacteria cultured.” The results after the cultures were tested found, “The most surprising was the relative lack of interest in cleaning. During the six months, only half the faculty members cleaned their iPads, even once.” It is concerning that in a hospital environment, medical professionals would neglect to consider cleaning an iPad or tablet that they have carried into different treatment rooms.
How difficult would it be for clinics and hospitals to disinfect mobile devices such as medical i-Pads and tablets? The journalofhospitalinfection.com, June 2014, volume 87, issue 2 article abstract, “Disinfecting the iPad: evaluating effective methods”, by V. Howell, A. Thoppil, M. Mariyaselvam, R. Jones, H. Young, S. Sharma, M. Blunt, P. Young, the results of the study found, “With the exception of Clostridium difficile, Sani-Cloth CHG 2% and Clorox wipes were most effective against MRSA and VRE, and they were significantly better than the Apple-Recommended plain cloth…”. In other words, most of the yucky things that can spread illnesses could be taken care of easily with wipes like those now being provided by many stores to wipe down their shopping carts when you walk in.
Take the time to bug AND de-bug your i-Pads and medical tablets. Use the Bug Tag and Classic N10 towers to prevent i-Pad theft and protect equipment and patient information. Use Clorox wipes to get rid of the rest of the bugs you don’t want spread from patient to patient.
Bug Tags are important and we can help you with them. Call 1.770.426.0547 and let’s talk.
As the benefits of using mobile medical devices are becoming more apparent, it is interesting to see the ways various doctors’ offices are employing them. I was combing the internet and came across an interesting article on the use of i-pads in the optometry field. In his article in Optometry Time, April 22, 2015, “i-pads in the optometry office How I put technology to use on a day to day basis”, Chief Optometric Editor Ernie Bowling, OD, FAOO, writes about his transition to the use of i-pads to improve service to his customers and improve office efficiency. He states, “In our office, use of the i-pad begins when the patient enters the office if not before. The i-pad has, as intended, completely replaced the clipboard in our office.” He writes that his patients can complete intake forms, “…once at the office, complete them on the i-pad. We have several i-pads dedicated to patient registration.” In my opinion, the option of going digital is a welcome change to the hassle of paper. My concern is that as I looked at the picture of his patients in the office completing the forms on the i-pads, I see no protections for the devices to prevent someone from running off with one. The security professional in me sees this as a major concern but one that could be addressed with the use of an Alpha Security Bug Tag on each device and a Classic N10 Checkpoint antenna at the doors.
The Bug Tag has an adhesive sled attached to the body of the tag itself. The sled is stuck to whatever item the medical facility needs to protect and if the time comes the device is to be taken out of service, the body is detached from the sled and reused on a new item. The sled is disposable and therefore is simply thrown away. Before being removed from the device, the body of the tag must be detached from the sled with a detachment tool acquired from Alpha Security. Without the removal tool, any attempt to take the tag off will result in a tamper alarm being activated (bad news for criminals with the intent of an i-pad theft). An additional protection the tag has is when it is used with electronic article surveillance towers at the front doors to a business. With towers like the Checkpoint Classic N10 system in place, a mobile device with a Bug Tag on it will be picked up by the towers and this sets off alarms and lights built in the tower. The alarms provide warning to employees that a theft attempt is taking place and they can recover the iPad or tablet before it leaves the building.
Aside from patient’s filling out new patient information on i-pads, the doctor mentions several other uses he has for the mobile devices in his practice. His, “…technician has a dedicated i-pad for patient preliminaries…I carry the i-pad with me from room to room, accessing and reviewing the patient’s chart before entering the exam room.” The doctor goes on to mention that his practice uses the camera on the i-pad to take pictures of the patient to help prevent insurance fraud and to avoid chart errors. They complete prescriptions on the i-pads and reduce the potential errors they may have had when staff had to interpret his handwriting. He names a number of other functions they have used to improve their services but it is clear that with all of the patient data being stored, the risk of client information being compromised in the event of an i-pad theft is significant.
Improving processes, reducing paperwork and finding ways to prevent medical errors and fraud are advantages that i-pads can offer to healthcare providers. It is important to protect patient privacy and protected information and the Alpha Security Bug Tag can provide that security by preventing i-pad theft.
Need information on Bug Tags? Give us a call at 1.770.426.0547 now.
Apple is eyeing the prospects of becoming more involved in the growing healthcare market. The computer giant already has a number of medical apps available on the i-pad for health care professionals and even medical students. Additionally i-pads and tablets have been found to be useful in “remote viewing of medical imaging scans”, “Mobile devices have been proven to improve contact between HCP’s (Health Care Providers) and their colleagues”, “Mobile devices are invaluable tools for HCP’s to use to search or access medical literature, as other informational sources.” P&T, May 2014, 39(5): 356-364, “Mobile Devices and Apps for Health Care Professionals: Uses and Benefits”, C. Lee Ventola, MS, https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4029126/ In a story in fastcompany.com titled, “ipads in Every Hospital: Apple’s Plan to Crack the $3 Trillion Health Care Sector, by Christina Farr, 03/18/17, “For Apple, the $3 trillion health care sector offers a lot of potential for growth for its ipad.” The article adds, “iPhones and iPads have been used by some hospitals for more than five years, but it is only recently the company went public about its interest in healthcare.” https://www.fastcompany.com/3068773/ipads-in-every-hospital-apples-plan-to-crack-the-3-trillion-health-care-se With this anticipated growth of more i-pads in the healthcare market, there has to be an increased concern over the protection of these devices. i-pad theft has already taken place in medical facilities. Just recently an incident took place in Leamington, Ontario, a thief stole “several” ipads from the Leamington District Memorial Hospital’s main lobby. http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/windsor/leamington-hospital-ipads-1.3973889 . i-pad theft is going to balloon as a result of this increased footprint but it can be curtailed if hospitals take the time to install Classic N10 towers at the entry/exit doors and places a Bug Tag 2 on each mobile device.
The Bug Tag 2 by Alpha Security is an electronic article surveillance (EAS) tag that is attached directly to mobile devices. The tags are a two-piece design, part is an adhesive that holds the tag on the item to be protected and the other is the housing unit held in place by the adhesive. The housing unit has the alarm and radio frequency (rf) coil that is the heart of the device. The tag emits a rf signal that can be picked up by a Checkpoint Classic N10 EAS tower when carried within the detection range of the tower. When that happens, the tower sounds an alarm and flashes LED lights that serve to warn employees a tagged mobile device has been detected. Employees responding to the alarm determine the cause of the alarm and recover the unit. You might be wondering what would prevent a determined thief from simply pulling a Bug Tag off and conducting an i-pad theft that way. First, the rounded edges of the tag ensure the device fits flush with the i-pad making it difficult for a thief to pry it off. Second, there is a tamper alarm built into the tag that causes it to activate an internal alarm if a person were to attempt to pry it off of a mobile device.
There may also be concern by some that EAS pedestals would be too big for the entrances and exits of hospitals and clinics that want to use Bug Tags to protect i-pads. Most people are familiar with the large pedestals that are encountered in retail store doorways. The solution to that problem is to install the Checkpoint Classic N10 pedestal. This tower has a small profile that was first designed with very small retail stores in mind that have limited space. The tower provides practically the same power and detection range as the bigger units while taking up a fraction of the floor and entryway space.
So why am I concerned about i-pad theft or any other mobile medical device, for that matter? Because the use of any medical device that stores patient information must be protected. Whether the device is used for check-ins in a hospital waiting room or registration at a pharmacy minute-clinic, patient information has to be protected from addresses to date of births. Theft of such devices exposes the patient to identity theft or it can lead to prescription fraud and insurance fraud. Significant breaches of patient information can also lead to massive fines from the Department of Health and Human Services.
We’ve all seen the contributions that Apple products have made in our society, so it is exciting to think about what they may add to medical advancements in the future. As hospitals increase the number of i-pads in their facilities it is important that appropriate security measures be taken to keep them safe. The Alpha Bug Tag 2 and Classic N10 pedestals offer the optimal security benefits to protect patients and property.
Need information on Bug Tags? Give us a call at 1.770.426.0547 now.