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Health

Allegheny Health Network hospitals removed from Pokemon Go game

Ben Schmitt
| Monday, Aug. 8, 2016, 11:27 p.m.
Allegheny General Hospital, part of Allegheny Health Network, in Pittsburgh's North Side.
Tribune-Review
Allegheny General Hospital, part of Allegheny Health Network, in Pittsburgh's North Side.

The days of chasing Bulbasaur or Pikachu at Allegheny General and its sister hospitals have come to an end.

Allegheny Health Network facilities are Pokemon Go-free, a spokeswoman told the Tribune-Review on Monday.

“It appears that the developer has complied with our request to remove our hospitals as gyms or ‘Pokestops,' ” said AHN's Stephanie Waite. “AGH is no longer showing up as a stop, and we asked that all seven hospitals be removed.”

In late July, the seven-hospital system contacted Niantic, manufacturer of the popular augmented reality game, requesting that all AHN locations be removed from the smartphone app.

The goal of Pokemon Go is to catch virtual animated characters with smartphone guidance. The app makes the characters appear as though they are in front of players. Pokemon players sometimes hold meet-ups at so-called “gyms,” often publicly accessible buildings.

The game has been lauded for getting people out of the house and moving, but it has led to car crashes, trespassing on private property, robberies and other problems.

AHN sent a memo to employees in July informing them that all its locations were off-limits to Pokemon Go players.

“The presence of Pokemon Go players in our facilities compromises physical safety, patient privacy, computer security and personal safety,” the memo stated.

Allegheny Health Network includes Allegheny General Hospital in the North Side; West Penn Hospital in Bloomfield; Forbes Hospital in Monroeville; Allegheny Valley Hospital in Harrison; Jefferson Hospital in Jefferson Hills; Canonsburg Hospital; and St. Vincent Hospital in Erie.

Ben Schmitt is a Tribune-Review staff writer. Reach him at 412-320-7991 or bschmitt@tribweb.com.

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