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The Next Best Medical Alert System

If you tuned into the Apple Live event yesterday you heard a lot about the new iPhone 6 and 6 Plus, as well as Apple's much anticipated wearable technology called the Apple Watch (nope it's not called the iWatch).  The iPhones continue on their spectacular run of innovation including getting thinner, faster, stronger, and packed with new features like Apple Pay (think iWallet) and integrated health apps.

The next best medical alert system

As you were watching the presentation I bet you weren't thinking about the next best medical alert system! As we listened to the Apple Watch discussion we just couldn't help but think about medical alert systems… Here are some of our thoughts on the future of this growing marketplace.

The Future of The Medical Alert System

As someone that follows the medical alert system industry closely, I can't help but think that we might be seeing the future of medical alert systems before our very eyes.  The first thing I thought about when I saw the Apple Watch was that this is the first big innovation in medical alert systems we've seen in a long, long time.

RELATED: MEDICAL ALERT SMART WATCHES DEBUT IN 2018

How you ask?  Consider this: The Apple Watch already has build in sensors to tell you temperature, heart rate and a variety of other health related information.  There are already built in health apps that track daily activity which will be useful for family members to track how often their loved one's are getting around.

Apple Health App - The next best medical alert system

This is the first big innovation in medical alert systems we've seen in a long, long time.

The Apple Watch has an internal gyroscope and an accelerometer which could lend itself to any myriad of inactivity or fall detections too.  Built in messaging could serve as useful reminders notifying the user when it's time to take their medications, and how they should take them (with food, or not).  The possibilities are endless.

Right now the Apple Watch solution isn't optimal  for a variety of reasons.  It's new, it's complex, it's tethered to an iPhone, it may not be waterproof yet, etc.  The biggest reason this technology won't be replacing the traditional medical alert system is that there aren't many medical alert system replacement apps that are ready for prime time on the Apple Watch.

Here's one industry observer that's betting on a new simple medical alert application to be integrated into the Apple Watch for seniors.  In short order this could become the next best medical alert system on the market.  I think that in 5 years you'll see some very useful apps come to market to address health needs that we haven't yet dreamed of.  Should be a fun ride!

Would You Like a Medical Alert Recommendation?

Visit our List of Recommended “BEST MEDICAL ALERT SYSTEMS FOR 2018

17 Comments

  1. Hello,

    I just came across this thread, and I’m very interested in finding a push button alert system for my business. You comment a lot on the medical alert potential of apple watch, and I wonder if there have been any significant strides made since your original post.

    More specifically, I run a biofeedback office, and I am often in and out of rooms while tending to other patients. It would be very helpful to have a button that would signal an alert to one or more apple watches so that myself or my staff could know who needs our attention.

    I would greatly appreciate any recommendations you have that would meet my needs.

    Thanks!
    David

    1. Hi David,

      Sorry for my belated response. ZDNet.com just released a review titled: 10 best smartwatches for the 2015 holiday season. I hear great things about the Samsung Gear2 devices, but they are android devices (not yet ready to pair to iPhones). If you guys have iPhones/iPads, I think the Apple watch would do the trick (pebble devices would too). If you had a staff member keeping track of folks in-need, that person could text you, or a clinical-user-group that “Betty” in room 3 needs immediate attention. That may work.

      Depending on your practice, you’re receptionist could also triage patients and alert your staff that way too… Hope that helps! A

      1. Thanks, Amie, but I was more interested in wireless buttons that would alert clinicians when someone was in need. This would allow a patient to be in a room without a clinician but still indicate when they need attention. Ideally, it would be connected to the biofeedback software that would trigger an automatic notification to clinicians.

        I haven’t found anything like this, but I thought you might know of some product. The closest I’ve seen is medical call/alert buttons. Those don’t seem compatible with smart phone/watch technology yet though.

        1. Dearest Amie and readers,

          We have just released production of iCE Angel – ID™, a free global Medical Alert and Emergency Identification system that immediately notifies your family and gives them instant access to critical information such as your medical history, insurance details, and current location in an emergency anywhere in the world. We offer both a panic button for rapid self activation and also an emergency QR card. that any rescuer or passer-by can simply scan using any scanner (or failing that, enter your member ID in our website) to activate that emergency alert on your behalf if you are unconscious or unable to trigger your own panic button. What that means for the elderly especially, is that they DO NOT NEED TO CARRY OR MAKE USE OF ANY BATTERY DEPENDENT DEVICE or require any tech skills at all…. because as the adult child you would sign up an iCE Angel – ID™ account for yourself and then add you elderly parents as a “dependent member” and maintain their profiles (medical history etc) for them via your account. Then you print out as many emergency QR cards as you want, and attach or place them in you parent’s wallet, pocket, handbag, car, keys, around their neck, or wherever. In an emergency, an angel (rescuer) can trigger an alert for your parents by scanning their QR code for them (or entering their member ID in our website if they do not have a scanner available). The scan then triggers a fully automated electronic process of notification and elective sharing of critical emergency information with the pre-selected contact persons. We are testing a corporate solution right now for a senior living centre where the centre has a corporate account and All their residents are added as dependent members to that corporate account and each resident is issued with their own emergency QR card(s). By the way, if your parents do have a smartphone or smartwatch, then they could in addition ALSO sync their own panic button to those devices too.

          We have a web service with iOS / Android apps built on an “API platform” which in simple terms means that our service (or parts of it) can easily be integrated with other software applications – and even hardware applications such as smartwatches, car crash sensors, and medical devices. We will be rolling out many more features and you can follow our updates at https://www.facebook.com/iceangelid or sign up for our free service at https://www.iceangelid.com.

          Be blessed and be safe 🙂

        2. Hi David, I know this is late but I think our service will work for you. We currently use smartphone panic buttons (and will release an Apple and Android smartwatch panic button soon). Our standard solution allows for two contact persons to be alerted and each contact person can choose how they wish to be notified (email, mobile push notification, Facebook Messenger, Twitter direct message).

          Regarding automatic alerts, I imagine that it is quite possible to integrate our alert API into your software to trigger those alerts if the biofeedback sensors reach certain pre-defined parameters… Feel free to drop us a private message at https://www.facebook.com/iceangelid

          Best wishes, Richie

  2. Am I understanding it correctly that to use the lifeline from Verizon , I would also need to have the I phone with me. I have been looking at the watch model .

    1. Hi Mary- Well the SureResponse is the Verizon model, and Lifeline is from Philips. You would not need to take an additional phone with you if you purchased the mobile (cellular) versions of either medical alert system. Please ask a lot of questions and do your research before purchasing. If we can assist you, please let us know.

  3. I was thinking along the same lines, Tim, but you expressed it much better than I….I don’t even know what an accelerormeter is. I used to joke if Tiffany made an alert pendant necklace, older women would love wearing it. The Apple watch looks cool.

    I was thinking it probably also has a gps built in. (Do you know?) If so, help could be on the way very quickly even if the person couldn’t speak.

    Thanks for the information and forward-thinking. possibilities.

    1. Hi Susan! The Apple Watch definitely looks cool, but now that we know more about it, it’s probably a few years away from prime-time. To answer your question; An accelerometer is a device that allows the phone to detect it’s picture mode, or landscape mode. It detects motion and translates that into information. In the case of medical alert devices accelerometers are used in the fall detection devices because through mathematical algorithms they can detect when someone has fallen, OR when someone hasn’t moved in a while (both of which would be cause for concern).

      Unfortunately the Apple Watch needs some time to grow. Here are a list of why we don’t think its ready for seniors (or most consumers for that matter).

      1. It’s not waterproof (no not even the sports edition). It is not even recommended to be worn in the shower.

      2. It’s tethered to the iPhone. Hopefully it will have it’s own communication ability down the road so you don’t have to take your phone with you all the time. So now you have 2 devices that do largely the same thing.

      3. Battery life of the Apple Watch is being called into question. They say you get a day’s worth of charge, but I suppose that the real numbers will become evident when they start shipping them (next year some time).

      4. The watch face is awfully small. Now my eyes are pretty good, but I don’t like reading on my iPhone 5S let alone a tiny watch… My iPad is about as small as I like to read on… But for the most rudimentary of tasks (like depressing an emergency call button) this might be too small for a lot of aging adults.

      Other question on GPS: I don’t know if the GPS is built-in or if it’s just borrowing the GPS functionality from the iPhone which someone would need on their person. I’ll dig into that one to find out – Great question. (Edited: No GPS on Apple Watch. See below comments)

      So in summary, for now it’s probably a nice to have… Down the road (a couple years down the road) it may turn into a need to have. One nice wearable comparable is the Google Glass product. Even thought it’s not widely available, it’s been met with only mild enthusiasm. It’s a nice wearable comparable because it’s also an extension of one’s cell phone except plastered to ones face.

      Thanks for the great questions – I may have to turn this into a post!

    2. Susan,

      Philips Lifeline has a medical alert system on a pendant called AutoAlert that detects falls and sends in a help call automatically if the person can’t press their help button if they are confused, disorientated or unconscious or perhaps won’t press because they don’t want to bother anyone. It prevents a person from long lie times after a fall or other event where they are down and cannot summon help.
      A new help button on a pendant that Philips Lifeline invented is called GoSafe and it is superior as it is the only mobile system with 6 advanced location technologies to help find you in an emergency. It utilizes assisted GPS technology which tells the device where to look for cell towers at any given time and recognizes the location of known WIFi hot spots to determine the person’s location. It also has falls detection. There is 2 way voice communication over the help button. The Philips Lifeline service is available in Canada and US.. All the help buttons are waterproof, lightweight, esthetically friendly, and most importantly have saved lives and improved the quality of life of many users,.

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