• 2012 – 6 laptops and tablet devices stolen from Northwestern Memorial Hospital’s Home Hospice offices. (Reported in Healthcare- Informatics.com, July 27, 2012 article by Gabriel Perna)
• 2013 – Four computers stolen in a July 15 burglary of an administrative building of Advocate Medical Group (Chicago Tribune, August 24, 2013, Peter Frost and Julie Wernau)
• 2014 – Nearly 20 tablet computers reported stolen from Medical Transporter of Georgia (wmcactionnews5.com Dec 02, 2014)
• 2014 – Laptop reported missing from Riverside County Regional Medical Center contained information on 563 patients (scmagazine.com, June 25, 2014, Adam Greenberg, Senior Reporter)
• 2015 – “Laptop stolen from a member of the faculty of LSU Health New Orleans School of Medicine has potentially exposed the protected health information of approximately 5,000 minor patients…” (The Clarion-Ledger, September 15, 2015)
Tablet theft, i-pad theft and even laptop theft is a real issue for medical providers. You may operate a medical transport company, doctor’s office or dental clinic it doesn’t matter, if you use mobile devices you have a risk of theft. Some of the cases I have listed were due to break-ins, but others were incidents of theft. This article is about how the use of Alpha Thunder Tags and common sense steps on a daily basis can prevent your devices from leaving the building and creating a security risk.
Many businesses and offices associated with medicine and patient information are becoming more reliant on mobile devices for conducting business. Doctors and nurses are accessing patient information, looking up prescription information even consulting with other medical providers on treatments and procedures. The concern that needs to be addressed is what happens to the device during a consultation or patient interaction. How do you prevent i-pad theft or laptop theft from taking place when someone has put down a device for a consultation or client interaction? If the office devices are secured with Alpha Thunder Tags a thief who picks one up and attempts to leave the building will trigger an alarm. The tag works with acoustic magnetic (AM) or radio frequency (RF) technology that will activate electronic article surveillance (EAS) antennas placed in doorways or entrance/exits to buildings. This assumes that a facility has EAS antennas installed in the building. If EAS antennas are not set up, a company, such as Checkpoint, offers a number of different antenna solutions that can be installed in office areas to provide a secure environment. If someone were to try to exit with a device and a Thunder Tag is on it, the tag has a built in annunciator that will sound and the antenna will also sound. The antennas also have built in LED lights that flash and alert staff of an unauthorized breach. To further protect against tablet theft, the Alpha Thunder Tag also has a tamper alarm that will sound if someone were to try to remove the tag from the mobile device.
If you are wondering whether the investment in an EAS system is worth the expense simply to install Alpha Thunder Tags to prevent i-pad theft or tablet theft, I would like to pose this question to you, what will the cost be to your business or practice if one of your devices is stolen? Not only will your business be liable to all the potential clients who had their information compromised, you will also be subject to enormous fines from the Department of Health and Human Services. Depending on the findings and number of patient records stolen, I have seen fines range from hundreds of thousands of dollars into the millions of dollars.
I mentioned at the beginning of this article I would share a few other ideas that can be implemented to help prevent i-pad theft or tablet theft. Devices that are not being used should be stored in a room that is inaccessible to the public. Devices need to charge, so this is the place where the charging station should be located. If the business has an after- hours cleaning service, a locking cabinet should be used for storing devices. Engrave all devices with a serial number or identification number. Labels with serial numbers can be removed, engraved markings are much more difficult and leave visible signs indicating information was covered over or erased. Require a user to sign in with a name or employee number and individual password so you know who last had a device.
Mobile technology offers so many advantages over the old paper files and even over the desktop computer. Faster access to information, accuracy and even improved patient care are some of the improvements mobile devices offer. They also have risks. Minimize those risks with Alpha Thunder Tags.
For more information on Alpha Thunder Tags, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547