Understanding the Way Medical Alert Systems Work

Medical Alert Systems

Medical alert systems provide instant help in the event of a fall or any other emergencies that needs medical attention. They are also gaining popularity very quickly with independent 

seniors and those who care for them. This is because this kind of device provides safety and peace of mind. 

Due to the number of life alert systems available in the market today, choosing one can be an overwhelming and confusing task. To make an accurate comparison and guide your decision, it becomes important to understand the way medical alert systems operate. 

Even though each brand provides its own features, service plans, options, and a range of devices, all medical alert systems work towards achieving the same goal. Which is to send aid when it is needed – fast. 

The only thing seniors need to do is press one button to contact the medical alert provider’s call center. In this call center, there are trained operators ready to help and send help immediately. Operators are available throughout the day, seven days a week. 

While this standard description tells you about the role medical alert systems perform, it does not tell a lot about the various elements that work together to seamlessly link seniors with support. 

To help in your “decision journey”, we’ve compiled this guide that talks about the different components, types, and features of medical alert systems. We’ll provide details on how they function, so you can make a shortlist of the options that are better suited to the needs of your loved one.

Different types of medical alert systems

The technology behind the design of medical alert systems has grown in leaps and bounds since its first TV advertisement aired in 1989. Although the standard concept of how medical alert systems work remains the same. There now exists three types of systems that are adaptable to varied circumstances. 

Landline systems

In-home systems that operate through standard telephone lines were the first kind of medical alert systems available in the market. They remain a favorable choice for seniors who have a landline phone and stay on their own and seek to keep their independence.

This system usually has a base station positioned in a central location in the house. This base station is linked to wearable pendants as well as on-mounted call button devices. 

Working as “a team” these features work to alert the medical alert call center as soon as the subscriber presses a button signaling they require help.

Mobile systems

Mobile systems that operate on cellular networks are becoming more favorable because they provide better flexibility for medical alert plan members. These systems can contain a wearable call button, a single mobile device, or in some cases both. They could also have a cellular base unit that they will place in a specific location in the subscribers’ home as another option. 

And because they are not connected to a fixed phone line, all units that constitute this medical system is fully mobile. 

Thus allowing subscribers to press a button and access their medical alert provider’s call center from just about anywhere. This could be outside or inside their home and also while they’re in transit and are within range of a cellphone signal.

Vehicle systems

Vehicle medical alert systems are the most recent and also made with the most innovative medical alert technology. These systems come with a portable device that can be plugged into a vehicle’s 12-volt adapter to get power. In addition to that, they also possess a backup battery, which means the medical alert system will continue to operate even if a 12-volt source is not available. 

Just like mobile systems, in-vehicle medial alert devices function on cellular networks. They come built with automatic crash-detection sensors and GPS geolocating to help identify the user’s location, in case an accident or emergency happens.

Further to this, these models come with a built-in microphone, speaker, and an immediate connection button, that establishes a cellular connection right away with the medical alert call center once the button is pressed.

Medical alert system parts

Just like the actual systems, the parts that make up medical alert systems continue to improve and evolve. Here’s a closer look at the components that today’s systems contain and how they function:

Base units

The base unit, also known as the console, is the main component that makes up the home medical alert system. It consists of a digital communicator that receives an alert when a senior presses a button indicating they need assistance. 

This console works to start a call to the provider monitoring center, where trained operators are available around the clock every day. Most base units have a sensitive speaker and microphone that exchange two-way voice communication between the monitoring center staff and user. 

Depending on the type of system chosen, the console could be battery powered and function on a cellular network signal, or it could plug into a landline phone jack and electrical outlet. 

Call buttons with remote transmitters

Medical alert systems also come standard with remote transmitters that come equipped with big, easy-to-access emergency call buttons. These battery-operated devices provide subscribers with the security of knowing that aid is available with just a push of a button from just about anywhere in their home or in any place where there’s a cellular signal.

With a landline-powered system, pressing the alert button on the transmitter will send a digital signal to the base unit up to 1,300 feet away. This depends on the model and brand as it is a wireless operation. Whereas in a mobile system, the transmitter itself usually serves as a mobile base unit that makes contact with the provider’s call center when its button is touched. 

Lastly, call centers or monitoring 

Call centers and medical alert providers are pivotal components that permit subscribers to get access to aid as quickly as possible in the event of a medical emergency. Medical alert companies that are reputable have many call centers and surplus systems in place so that subscribers are guaranteed they will get help 365 days a year, 24/7. Typically these centers are UL and CSAA certified and also provide translation services for persons who do speak English.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here