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What to Consider When Choosing a Medical-Alert Device?

03/12/2019 3:55 PM | Anonymous

A medical-alert device is a panic button worn around the wrist or as a pendant that can call “911” for help if you fall or in an emergency when you cannot reach your phone to call for help.  More than 3 million consumers already own one.  But, which is the best devise to buy. Consumer’s Checkbook tested 11 devices and found disturbing deficiencies and delays to getting to “911”.  These delays are because most devises connect you with a call center and they determine your emergency, call “911”, and relay your information to “911”.  All this increases the amount of time between when your call is answered and “911” is dispatched.  Some devices also sent multiple false alarms.  And others could not provide location information. 

Checkbook could not recommend most devises tested but if you  buy one consider:

  • GreatCall Lively Mobile because it called local “911” directly and had the fastest average response rate.
  • Shop based on features and response rate rather than price, which can vary from $130 to $625 for the first year.
  • Use the 30-day free trial period to teat response time and location accuracy. 
  • Complete the customer profile with as much detail as possible-medical conditions, medications including dosage and times per day, and doctor contact information.

More information is available at the Washington Post

The full report on medical-alert devices is available at  www.checkbook.org/washingtonpost/alert. Washington Consumer Checkbook is a nonprofit organization that seeks to help consumers get the best service and lowest prices.


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