As a child I grew up watching the television series Emergency! The show was about firemen and what we would call today, paramedics. The main characters would respond to fires, vehicle crashes, all of the incidents you would expect fire fighters to respond to. The thing that was unique back in those years was that the firefighters/paramedics were administering first aid and life support service to keep patients/victims alive. The main characters, John and Roy would evaluate a patient and call Rampart General Hospital and give a description of their patient’s condition. Emergency room staff doctors and nurses would then provide guidance over the radio on treatments. Today, paramedics and emergency medical technicians can use i-Pads and Tablets to consult with doctors and doctors can see the condition of the patient, as well as get the first-hand description from the care giver on scene. This does bring up one concern and that is the potential of i-Pad theft or medical tablet theft at the hospital.


The issue of medical i-Pad theft or tablet theft is very real. When such devices are stolen there is a risk of patient information compromise, placing in jeopardy patient health information, billing information (including insurance provider account and group numbers), prescription medication information and more. There is a black market where such information is sold and the information is then used for fraudulent purposes and identity theft. A facility that experiences a breach or potential breach of patient information is subject to investigations and fines levied by the Department of Health and Human Services. So how can theft be prevented? By using a Bug Tag on mobile medical devices that are maintained in hospitals, clinics and medical facilities. The Bug Tag is an anti-theft device that uses radio frequency (rf) waves to interact with Checkpoint electronic article surveillance pedestals. The Bug Tag is attached directly to the mobile device and if the device is carried too close to the pedestals, located next to the entry/exit doors, alarm with lights and a loud beeping noise. Staffs respond to the alarms and recover the device before it is removed from the building thereby averting the potential stolen patient data.


This leads me back to the beginning of this article and how i-Pads came to be prevalent among first responders today. What was happening in the world of first responders that led to the creation of paramedics and emergency medical technicians in the first place? Before the 1960’s, ambulance services varied between states and even within the states themselves. Some of the responders had no medical training making the ambulance service a transportation unit only and others had highly trained staffs to treat injuries. According to Legislative Intent Service, Inc. in an article titled, “Origins of California’s Paramedics”, a 3 year study was completed by the National Academy of Sciences, National Research Council, on accidental deaths in the United States. Titled, “Accidental Death and Disability: The Neglected Disease of Modern Society.” “The study noted another striking find: Statistically, soldiers in a warzone were faring better than the American civilian public regarding emergency care.” As a result of the study, In 1970 the, “Wedworth-Townsend Paramedic Act” was sent to the desk of then California Governor Ronald Reagan. One of the interesting points of the bill included, the ability of the paramedics to administer a number of intravenous drugs or agents, “Where voice contact or a telemetered electrocardiogram is monitored by a physician or a certified mobile intensive care nurse where authorized by a physician, and direct communication is maintained, may upon order of such physician or such nurse do any of the following:…” In other words, in Emergency!, when the paramedics were calling “Rampart” and talking to the emergency room doctor on duty, this was in line with the 1970 California bill. Today, paramedics have even more training and better tools at their disposal. The improvement in communications using i-Pads and tablets over radios has dramatically changed initial diagnosis and stabilization until a patient can reach a medical facility.  Doctors can be virtually in the field with the EMT and the patient through Skype and the cameras built into i-Pads.


While guarding against i-Pad Theft or Tablet Theft in the field may be difficult. In the hospital setting it is possible when the Bug Tag is attached to each hospital owned mobile device. Doing so ensures patients will continue to receive the best treatment possible from first responders.


Get more information on a Bug Tag, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547 today.