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.