Pokemon Go has hospitals trying to keep it real: 4 things to know

"Pokemon Go" — an augmented reality smartphone app that uses a phone's GPS and camera to allow users to hunt for virtual Pokemon characters in the real world — has exploded in popularity. More than 15 million people have downloaded the app, and hospitals have noticed.

The game has gotten players out into the community, searching for virtual creatures in every nook and cranny, stopping at Pokestops (real landmarks where players can pick up virtual items necessary for game play) and visiting "gyms" where the Pokemon can fight. All of this activity is affecting hospitals, as gamers show up on campus to play, thus causing potential safety issues.

Here are four things to know about how hospitals are responding to "Pokemon Go" players.

1. Calling security and the police. Covenant HealthCare in Saginaw, Mich., for instance, banned entry to its grounds to play "Pokemon Go" and has alerted its security department and local police about the issue.

2. Making public pleas. Several hospitals have tried to make it clear to the public that their grounds are off-limits for Pokemon hunting. Utah Valley Hospital in Provo has asked the public to play the game without entering the hospital, for example, and employees at Cox Health in Springfield, Mo., have asked gamers to leave the campus.

3. Contacting the developer. The Nebraska Hospital Association told its hospital members that they can try contacting the game's developer to have game elements removed from hospital campuses. "Locations, known in the game as gyms or Pokestops, can be removed from the app by contacting the developer and filling out a form," the notice reads.

4. Treating the injured. People who have gotten injured while chasing virtual characters in real life have started turning up at emergency departments. Someone fell into a ditch chasing a Pokemon and landed in the ED, according to Washington Post coverage of a Reddit post, and other users have reported "Pokemon Go"-related injuries on Twitter.

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