By: Grant Peterre
If you’ve spent any amount of time in public the past month, you’ve probably witnessed a strange phenomenon: multitudes of people purposefully marching around with their phones facing forward, following odd tracking signals and expressing their desires to capture a Pikachu or acquire more Pokéballs.
Still wondering what this is all about? Here’s a brief introduction to Pokémon Go, the new mobile craze that is on pace to become one of the most viral application of all time.
Pokémon Go is an augmented reality game for iPhone and Android. Capitalizing on the immensely successful Pokémon franchise which encouraged players to catch and collect virtual monsters, Pokémon Go uses your phone’s camera and GPS location services to digitally display creatures for capture and collection, all against the backdrop of the real world.
The app is being lauded for encouraging players to be more active outdoors and unifying players and fans of all ages. Business and institutions are even taking advantage of the action: local business owners have been purchasing “lures” on Google Maps, which results in waves of players flocking to the location in search of Pokémon. The Art Institute of Chicago has even encouraged players to visit their museum via Twitter in search of Pokémon.
Pokemon and Your Facility
But what does this mean for hospitals and practices in the HCA community? Reports of increased foot traffic in and around various facilities has necessitated a reminder about safety and security protocol. It is important to remember that one of our top priorities is the protection of patient and company information. A popular game that relies on the collection of data through users’ phone cameras and GPS location could pose security threats to information and must be treated appropriately. HCA’s Information Protection Program has offered several helpful suggestions if you believe your site is facing issues with crowds, such as working with your IT team to determine if your facility is listed as a popular gathering point for players of Pokémon Go, or creating scripted messages to deliver which detail the potential security threats posed by players.
If you do discover that your location is a gathering point for players, here is the process for having your site removed from the map:
- Visit the app developer’s support page at https://support.pokemongo.nianticlabs.com/
- Choose “Submit a Request,” followed by “Report a Problem with a Gym or Pokéstop”
- Supply the full address of your location
While Pokémon Go is undeniably innovative and fun, always remember our commitment to HCA values and standards involving patient confidentiality and security. Please reach out to the Marketing & Digital Services team if you have any questions.