Medical Alert Systems: Challenges, Benefits, Statistics
Medical Alert Systems: Challenges, Benefits, Statistics
Remote patient monitoring is one of the staples of digital health. This technology allows clinicians to monitor patients from afar, eliminates geographical limitations of healthcare delivery, and improves clinical outcomes. But the most vulnerable groups of people require the next step of this technology: immediate reaction. That is why medical alert systems are a valuable tool in protecting the lives of our elderly.
What Is a Medical Alert System?
A medical alert system is a piece of technology that monitors the health and well-being of our vulnerable loved ones. They are designed to monitor the elderly or vulnerable people and, should they find themselves in a situation that requires immediate medical attention, the alert goes off.
One of the most common examples is the event of a fall or a similar injury that can prevent our elderly from calling for help. This is where wearables come into play. Most medical alert systems for seniors consist of two parts: healthcare wearable technology such as a necklace, bracelet, etc., or the at-home system, and the 24/7 monitoring service. Setting this system up is usually a very user-friendly process and home devices can just be plugged into outlets. Additional features include wall-mounted buttons.
Benefits of a Medical Alert System
They are easy to set up and use
Setting up and using this technology is usually very easy. Mounting the wall button or putting on a piece of jewelry, like a bracelet or a smartwatch, takes little to no time, and those affected will reap the benefits of this technology practically instantly. Most of these systems also come with set-up guidelines, so even the less tech-savvy individuals will have no trouble installing and using them.
A life alert system offers nonstop observation, making it perfect for monitoring vulnerable people. Ongoing monitoring is a standard feature of this technology, therefore, following its installation, you can relax while knowing that your loved ones will not be left alone, yet they will acquire their independence.
It can track your location.
Opting to use wearable devices means opting to use technology equipped with GPS monitoring. No matter where an individual is, they can instantly share their location and condition in the case of an emergency, wasting no time in receiving the help they need.
It is a comfortable and discrete accessory.
The fact that life alert systems can be used as a smartwatch or a piece of smart jewelry means that equipping this technology won’t present the user with any logistical problems or barriers. It is as easy as putting on a wristwatch that can save your life.
Instant Care and Unmanned Alert
The main benefit of utilizing a wearable alert system is that it offers instant care no matter where you are. Some systems also offer unmanned alerts: in situations in which the individual has fallen and simply can’t press the alert button themselves – an automatic alert goes out asking for help.
Challenges of Medical Alerts for Seniors
Loss of phone service.
Alert systems are connected to your phone or similar devices. Systems connected to the cellular network run the risk of the individual going into a remote area with little to no service.
While there is no real way to prevent loss of service due to unforeseen circumstances such as a storm, people donning these devices can make sure that their service is strong, or can check what their service is like in the area they plan to visit.
Alert systems work in one of two ways: either they have a built-in battery that is non-rechargeable or they have an onboard battery that requires regular maintenance. If the battery loses power, the panic button will fail.
The users of this technology need to evaluate whether their needs are suited for a built-in battery or one that requires maintenance. Additionally, some providers take note of their devices’ battery lives, therefore they will usually send a team to replace the battery and make sure that it continues to function as intended before it runs out of power.
Sensitivity of Fall Detection
Fall detection functions by recognizing when an individual experiences a fall alerting the proper monitoring services. However, no fall detection is 100% reliable. Making fall detection is too sensitive and will trigger the alert by thinking that the equipped individual is always falling. Setting it too rigid will not activate the alert. Therefore, acceptable use of this technology requires careful consideration and metrics setting to be used the way it is intended.
According to Consumer Reports, accidental activations are more common than intentional ones. Just like the sensitivity of fall detection can trigger accidental activation, it is not uncommon for pets or young ones to accidentally press the panic button of fall detection devices. It is essential to consider this when installing this technology and to make sure that, for the most part, it is out of accidental reach.
Medical devices can be hacked, and for 12 consecutive years, healthcare has been the number one target of cybercriminals. Protected health information (PHI) and electronic protected health information are governed by HIPPA’s Privacy Rule, which means there are clear standards for how we can and should protect our health information. Medical devices can easily be hacked by exploiting some of their weaknesses through a wireless connection, malware, or social engineering.
To avoid this implementation challenge, it is important to take necessary steps with your medical alert systems such as:
Regularly checking and updating software and hardware
Using strong passwords
Ensuring your device has antivirus software and encryption
Medical Alert Devices Statistics
- 54% of U.S. adults reported using alert technologies.
- 86% of users of alert devices reported that it saved them or their loved ones.
- 54% of respondents feel that this technology infringes on their data privacy.
- 36% of respondents reported that medical alerts saved them from a situation that could have escalated.
- 40% of respondents claim that the low monthly costs of this tech are important to them.
The price of a medical alarm system ranges from $20 to $40 for a monthly subscription, aside from the initial implementation costs.
- $6.47 billion was the value of the global alert system market in 2020.
It is projected to reach $20.95 billion by 2030, with an annual CAGR of 10.9%.
- 3 in 4 seniors aged 75+ believe they do not need a monitoring device.
- 1 in 4 seniors aged 65 and over falls each year.
These falls often lead to more serious injuries.
- 44% of seniors claim they would wear a monitoring device if they had one.
- 16% of the world population will be 65 and over by 2050, according to the World Health Organization.
Medical alert systems present a step forward in bringing healthcare to our most vulnerable individuals, therefore integrating a medical alert system in your home could tip the scales in life-or-death situations. Take advantage of one of the staple technologies of digital healthcare, and ensure the safety and well-being of your loved ones.