Remember the cute children’s song, “Where, O Where Has My Little Dog Gone?”  What a fun little ditty about a lost dog and a search to find him.  But what if we change the words just a bit and make it, “Where, O Where Has My Mobile Device Gone?” That’s not quite so cute (and it doesn’t really rhyme so well either). It is especially not so funny if it involves a medical i-pad theft or medical tablet theft. The little dog in the song may very well find his way home, but will the mobile device make it back to where it belongs? Probably not. Medical providers have to be on guard to ensure that if they are using mobile devices in their practices they are keeping both the information on the device and the device itself secure. What is the best way to do this? Encryption of a device is imperative to protect patient/client data. Using an Alpha Thunder Tag is critical to prevent an i-pad theft or tablet theft.


Mobile devices can be protected by attaching an Alpha Thunder Tag to them and installing Checkpoint Classic N10 Antennas at building exits. The tag is built so that when it is within a certain distance from an antenna, it will cause the alarm in the antennas to activate. Alarms consist of flashing LED lights and a very loud alert sound. These alerts ensure that staff and employees will hear when someone is trying to carry a device out of the building. Alerts also provide staff an opportunity to get to the door where the alarm is sounding and retrieve the item being stolen. The Thunder Tag is also designed to be tamper proof, so if someone should try to remove the tag in order to steal a device, the tag has a built in alarm that is set off and warn staff that an attempted theft is taking place.


If you have a smaller office area and are concerned about the space a Checkpoint Classic N10 Antenna would take up, you can rest assured that the space requirements are minimal. This antenna was designed with small spaces in mind, so the footprint it requires is very small, and yet it performs as well as larger electronic article surveillance (EAS) antennas. Should a person, attempt an i-pad theft or tablet theft, the antenna will detect the Alpha Thunder Tag.


So the question becomes does it really matter if a mobile medical device is stolen if it is encrypted? It does matter. While encryption does make it more difficult for a thief to get information from a device such as a laptop or tablet, it is not impossible. In an article in  , titled, “Health Care Data Encryption” the author discusses what data encryption is and why health care providers should use it. The article states, “Consideration of EHR( electronic health reporting, my clarification in parentheses) data encryption is wise for health care providers, administrators, IT personnel and health facilities. Although encryption is not foolproof, it’s better than plain text records (emphasis mine)”. Mobile medical devices could be stolen and the information stored on them compromised. Not only does this put patient information at risk, it could result in significant fines and penalties for the practice or care unit.


Can someone gain access to medical devices and steal them? Absolutely.  Handheld devices like anything else can get in the way when a patient is being treated or if a care provider becomes distracted. It isn’t difficult to imagine a scenario where someone may put down a device to take a phone call or consult with a partner or patient and then forget to pick the tablet or i-pad up. How about just laying the device on a counter where patients check in and out? Once the device is out of a person’s immediate control, it is subject to being picked up or simply lost. Once a device cannot be accounted for, it should be reported to the Department of Health and Human Services. It should not be assumed that a Mobile Medical Device will find its’ way home again.


Medical tablet theft and/or i-pad theft must be treated as very real possibilities. Using an Alpha Thunder Tag and Checkpoint Classic N10 antennas along with data encryption on your devices can help to ensure your practice does not experience a damaging loss.


Get more information on Alpha Thunder Tags, contact us or call 1.770.426.0547 today.