Pokemon-NO-places-you-really-shouldnt-play-Pokemon-GOOne of the highest priorities for staff at Ottumwa Regional Health Center is to ensure patient safety and confidentiality within the hospital environment. With the advent of the recent “Pokémon Go” craze, there have been some instances where it has been unintentionally challenging.
“We have had some recent issues of Pokémon Go “players” coming into the hospital in order to find and “train” their characters,” said Phil Noel, CEO. “So far, we’ve caught them at the door.”
What is it? Pokémon Go is a free-to-play location-based augmented reality mobile game developed by Niantic and released just this month for iOS and Android devices. It allows players to capture, battle, and train virtual creatures, called Pokémon who appear on device screens as though in the real world. It makes use of GPS and the camera of compatible devices. It has been praised by some medical professionals for potentially improving the mental and physical health of players, but is also attracting controversy due to reports of causing accidents and being a public nuisance at some locations – such as hospitals.
“We ask that people not come onto the hospital grounds who are solely here to play the game,” Noel said. “This activity is an unwanted distraction as well as potential risk of Federal HIPAA (patient privacy) violations and could result in substantial monetary fines and/or jail time for violators. We have contacted the site and requested the hospital be removed from their GPS maps.”