The Cost of Theft of Medical Devices to Hospitals

Healthcare fraud in hospitals comes in various forms, and while it may not be widely noticed in society, the cost of hospital crime significantly impacts healthcare both economically and socially. These crimes are a mix of opportunity theft of items such as stethoscopes and thermometers, and much higher value thefts, stolen to order. These scams are generally attributed to a small minority of staff, patients and contractors.

As hospital budgets continue to be pressured and cuts are made, the effects of device theft become more significant.

The Effect Of Device Theft In Hospitals

The annual cost of fraud and hospital crime to the NHS is reported to be more than £3 billion[1] , putting patients’ lives at risk and having a serious impact on the quality of patient care. The Financial Cost Of Healthcare Fraud report, written by PKF and Portsmouth University reveals how the cost of fraud to the NHS is part of a wider picture of criminality, with an estimated 7.29% of healthcare expenditure lost to fraud globally – amounting to £230bn a year[1].

One of the report’s authors stated that the greatest proportion of the loss is high-volume, low-value fraud – such as prescription charges not being paid and portable equipment that disappears.

The cost to healthcare comes in many formats, with the sum of funds stolen through device theft and other forms of hospital crime enough to build several hospitals.

How to Combat Healthcare Fraud and Device Theft

To reduce the negative impact of hospital crime on healthcare systems that are already being stretched both financially and physically, there are a number of ways to reduce theft.

One way to reduce theft is to adopt technologies and devices which are designed to deter theft through opportunistic behaviour from staff and patients.

The TRITEMP™ non-contact thermometer has been designed with the feedback of healthcare professionals in mind. The device comes with a range of quality accessories such as wall mounts and tethers, which increase ease of use but also deter theft from hospitals.

The theft of thermometers from hospitals has increased since the beginning of the pandemic[2], due to the correlation between raised temperatures and COVID-19.

With it’s extendable tether, the TRITEMP™ can attach to the nurses’ trolley or storage area, making it more difficult to steal.

In 2020, it was reported that Swansea Bay University Health Board had pleaded with the public to stop taking hand sanitizer and thermometers as they are urgently needed to care for patients[2].


What are the benefits of TRITEMP™ thermometers?

TRITEMP™ thermometers have multiple benefits for hospitals including but not limited to:

– Costs are significantly reduced by removing the need for the purchase and disposal of single-use plastic probe covers that are used with traditional contact thermometers
– Accurate temperature readings within +/- 32.36 degrees Fahrenheit, allowing for quick detection of a patient’s core body temperature
– Removes contact with patients and therefore helps maximize infection control
– Nurses save time at every reading with no probe covers to change, simply TAP&TAKE

Why do Healthcare Teams Rely so Heavily on Thermometers?

Temperature is a vital sign that is used to diagnose a wide range of healthcare conditions. Thermometers are used every day, on every patient, on every ward.

During the pandemic, it has been established that a raised body temperature is one of the main indicators that a person may have acquired COVID-19. As a medical grade device, TRITEMP™ thermometers ensure quick and accurate temperature readings without coming into physical contact with the patient.

Are TRITEMP™ Thermometers Non-Contact?

TRITEMP™ forehead thermometers are 100% non-contact. They use infrared energy to detect core body temperature, with simple TAP & TAKE technology. As long as obstacles such as hair or hats have been moved out of the way, the device is simply aimed at the middle of the forehead slightly above the patient’s eyebrows. The temperature will be taken in seconds, and you can simply move on to the next patient.

How to combat device theft in hospitals?

Since 2006 hospitals have increased the amount of security in hospitals due to device theft, but due to the open nature of hospitals the effectiveness is limited. Adopting theft deterring devices is a better option such as the TRITEMP™.

How much does theft cost the NHS ?

The annual cost of fraud and hospital crime to the NHS is reported to be more than £3 billion[1] , putting patients’ lives at risk and having a serious impact on the quality of patient care.



To find our more about TRITEMP™ - Enquire now