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The Pokémon GO Craze: How It's Affecting Healthcare and Patient Care

Jul 19, 2016 11:20:00 AM Posted by Karlie Van Soelen | Marketing

Pokemon-Genesis-health.jpegWhat has technology, walking, procrastination, health and virtual reality in common? Pokémon GO.

Pokémon GO hit over 15 million downloads in just one week since it’s release date on July 6. The augmented reality gaming app on Android & iPhone, is incentivizing interactions and movement for users to catch Pokémon in physical locations.

“Get on your feet and step outside to find and catch wild Pokémon,” says the Pokémon GO app description. “Explore cities and towns around where you live and even around the globe to capture as many Pokémon as you can.”

While this is getting kids (and adults) up and moving around while using technology, there are a few concerns to be aware of.

A Privacy and Safety Issue? Your hospital or clinic could be a “PokéStop”

Pokemon-healthcare-delivery-room.jpegSome of the location-specific activities may lead players to your healthcare organization for gameplay. This can cause security issues and an unwanted amount of people at or near your location. Utah Valley Hospital (Provo, UT) had four "Pokéstops," including a statue in the hospital atrium, a statue outside near a fountain, a time capsule in the main entrance, and a spot near the hospital's helipad.

You may even find patients playing the game in hospital rooms such as Pokémon player, Redditor Bringther1ot, who secured a brand new Pidgey in his wife's labor and delivery room. Shortly afterwards he found a small female child that had been hiding in his wife for months. (Pictured to the right)

It is possible to remove your location from the app. To remove your location, contact the developer and “submit a request form.”

An HR Nightmare? Your employees might be distracted

Mass General sent out an email reminder to their employees, which said, "We'd like to remind you that the hospital is a place for patient care, and as such, Pokémon GO may not be used during work time or on hospital property." This may trigger the need to take a look at your mobile device policies!

Not to mention, your employees playing Pokémon GO may be late to work if they were distracted by the playing the app on their drive in.

A Health Hazard? You may start to see more patients

While it’s great to see technology leading people outdoors, the app is creating higher risk of people slipping, falling, stumbling, and maybe even crashing into things.

Athenahealth put together their top 10 ICD-10 codes (a bit tongue and cheek) that are relevant to Pokémon GO injuries. We thought it might be a good idea to add some commentary to those to give you some preview into the health hazards that could be involved with the app.

  1. W18.0: Fall due to bumping against object - The lamppost was in your way, AGAIN.
  1. E86.0: Dehydration - You realize you’re an hour walk from home, and you are really, really thirsty.
  1. V48.0: Injured in noncollision transport accident in nontraffic incident - Did you really just run into a parked car while walking?
  1. F60.8: Narcissistic personality disorder - Level 20 is a REALLY, REALLY big deal, apparently.
  1. L55.0: Sunburn of first degree - The app was released in July, of all months. The summer sun is hot.
  1. R41.82: Altered mental status-unspecified - You find yourself among 20-30 other players mindlessly walking to the same Pokéstop… sounds like the zombie apocalypse to me.
  1. T23.0: Burn of unspecified degree of hand, unspecified site - Your smart phone may be overheating in your hand after playing for so long.
  1. R53.83: Other Fatigue - lack of energy, lethargy, tiredness - Mixing physical activity while being glued to a 3-inch screen may have some negative effects on your mind and body.
  1. Y04.0: Assault by unarmed brawl or fight- “CAN’T STOP PLAYING, CAN’T PUT POKÉMON DOWN.” Put it down slowly and no one will get hurt.
  1. G56.00: Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, unspecified upper limb - Those wrists may need some treatment after catching Pokémon all day long.

If you’re a Pokemon GO player, watch where you’re going and respect people’s property. If you’re not a Pokemon GO player, watch out for those “Pidgey’s” being caught in hospital rooms or in your front lobby.

Photo 1 Source: Quad City Times   Photo 2:  Source: comicbook.com 

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Karlie Van Soelen | Marketing

Karlie provides support for sales and marketing at ICE Technologies, assisting with event coordination, graphic design, content, marketing campaigns, and more.