Medical Alert Systems vs. Emergency Alert Systems: What to Choose?

AllsWell Team

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There are many cases when you may need a medical or emergency alert system. They are suitable for personal use if you live alone, solo travel, or have a health condition. Medical emergency alert systems are also priceless if you have elderly parents and worry about their wellbeing. Currently, over 36 million US citizens are registered as single-person households. Four in ten seniors aged 65+ live alone

Reliable medical alert devices can considerably simplify the lives of many people. They enable users to ask for help directly or send alerts under specific conditions like prolonged inactivity. It saves lives, speeds up medical help, brings peace of mind and other benefits.

Would you like to get emergency or medical alert systems for yourself? Let us explain the difference between medical and emergency alert devices and how to choose the right one.

Medical Alert Systems vs. Emergency Alert Systems

Even though emergency and medical alert devices are often used interchangeably, they have significant differences. Emergency alert systems cover a broader range of services both for healthcare and personal security monitoring. On the other hand, medical alert systems mostly connect users with healthcare teams. If you, for example, need a solution to call 911 when someone barges your house, mobile medical alert systems won’t help. Hence, you should know your needs to understand what solution meets them best.

Medical Alert Systems

Here are some general facts you should know about mobile medical alerts systems and devices before choosing one.

  • What is a medical alert system?

Medical alert systems are tiny medical alert devices or convenient mobile apps that monitor users’ health. They detect prolonged inactivity or specific health indicators to alert connected people that something may be wrong with the user. The best medical alert systems also include a panic button and other handy features to enable patients to ask for help.

  • How do medical alert systems work?

When an event triggers the system, it sends a signal to an alarm monitoring platform. The platform processes the information and, if required, alerts medical personnel or family members about the issue. Even though medical alert systems can work as separate devices, modern users go for mobile apps and wearables. App-based medical alert systems that work with cell phones are more affordable and convenient.

  • Does Medicare cover medical alert systems?

No, home medical alert systems don’t qualify for Original Medicare, Part A, and Part B. These are not durable medical equipment, so you will need to pay out of your pocket. The good news is medical alert systems provided as mobile apps are very affordable.

Emergency Alert System

Emergency alert devices and applications are more universal than medical alert solutions. You can use them in almost any risky situation to contact emergency services or selected people.

  • What is the emergency alert system?

Personal emergency alert services are emergency alert devices or apps that automatically contact all appropriate emergency channels when triggered. Usually, to activate an emergency alert system, you only need to click a panic button. Despite being also used for medical alerts, the main task of emergency alert systems is to protect people in life-threatening situations (e.g., burglary or aggravated assault). 

  • How does the emergency alert system work?

The US has a national emergency alert system that sends citizens emergency alerts and warning messages. But here, we talk about personal safety apps and devices. It’s a different thing. Such solutions have a panic button that, when triggered, forwards a signal to connected emergency services or people. You choose whom to contact and when. Some of the apps also have safety checks. It’s a feature that prompts users to interact with the phone to confirm that everything is okay.

  • Does Medicare cover smartphone emergency alert systems?

No, Medicare won’t reimburse for emergency alert devices or apps.

Note that emergency and medical alert systems fall into two types: monitored and non-monitored. Monitored systems connect you to emergency monitoring centers staffed by dispatchers after you push the panic button. Non-monitored work similarly but connect you with designated contacts. Mind this difference while choosing a medical alert or emergency system.

Compare Medical Alert Systems vs. Emergency Alert Systems

If you compare medical alert systems with emergency services, you’ll see they have lots in common. Both solutions are offered as custom devices or mobile apps. Both help to save lives. Both are suitable for personal use and allow you to take care of your dear ones. To clarify the differences and compare these solutions, refer to the table below.


Who Should Use Medical Alert Systems vs. Emergency Alert Systems

Personal emergency alert systems and medical alerts have different target audiences. By understanding who these solutions are designed for, you can choose the best medical alert system for you.

  Medical Alert System Emergency Alert System
Mode Device, wearable, or application Device, wearable, or application
Core feature Health and inactivity monitoring Panic button
Emergency contacts Healthcare services and selected people Emergency services and selected people
Use cases Health issues (e.g., low pressure, asthma episode, fall, heart attack) All kinds of life-threatening situations, be it a stroke or an armed robbery
Main users Seniors Anyone who lives or spends a lot of time alone
Ease of use Automated alerts Require an action
Cost Apps are more affordable than devices Apps are more affordable than devices
Medicare Not covered Not covered


Who Uses Home Medical Alert Systems

These are services for adults with health issues and seniors living alone. They connect users with emergency contacts or healthcare teams to send critical health alerts. When seniors fall or have an asthma episode, and there is no one around, mobile medical alert systems can help.

Medical alert systems with GPS are also effective for younger people with chronic diseases like epilepsy. They may want to secure themselves in case of rapid health deterioration. The best medical alert systems support panic buttons and inactivity monitoring for double security. Even when the user cannot click the panic button because of a seizure, the app automatically triggers alerts after a specific inactivity period. Thanks to this, users can lead more fulfilled and safe lives.

Home medical alert systems are also a substantial aid to caregivers. If you have elderly parents or dear ones, you know how hard caregiving may be. Especially if you live far from them, have your own family, or work a lot. You are constantly on the stretch and worrying about their health. Each time you cannot reach them, the worst things come to your mind. Medical alert systems help to minimize such episodes through 24/7 monitoring.

Finally, medical alert systems optimize everyday operations in healthcare organizations and enhance the quality of care. Providers adopt such applications and devices to stay connected with patients and automate remote monitoring.

Who Uses Emergency Alert Systems

Emergency alert systems are suitable for anyone living alone, be it a 30-year old adult or a senior. They supply users with a quick way to call emergency services and contacts in risky situations. It may be a direct threat to your life, like when someone attempts to enter the house or in case of an acute health problem. For example, if you feel you are falling unconscious, you can use emergency alert systems to notify someone.

Emergency alert devices are also a great thing if you often travel alone. Equipped with GPS tracking, they allow you to report the location when you get lost or need help for any other reason. As a result, local emergency services will be able to find you promptly.

Overall, the capabilities of the chosen medical or emergency alert system depend on the functionality. Hence, looking for the right solutions, it’s better to focus on the features you need.

What to Look for When Choosing Medical Alert and Emergency Alert Systems

If you choose a physical device or wearable, make sure it’s water-resistant and has long battery life. It’s also good to get a device with a backup battery in case of a power outage.

Yet if you decide to download an emergency alert app, which is more affordable and convenient, pay attention to these features:

  • Panic button. The panic button should be present in both emergency and medical alert systems. It enables users to instantly get in touch with emergency services, family members, or other selected contacts.

  • Inactivity monitoring. We recommend applications that supplement the panic button with inactivity monitoring. Sometimes, users cannot grasp the phone and click the button, but they still need help. The inactivity monitoring feature will send automated alerts when the user stays inactive for too long.

  • GPS tracking. GPS tracking is essential to quickly provide help to the user when they need it, wherever they need it. Mobile medical alert systems with GPS are more reliable and multifunctional than basic safety applications.

  • Real-time automated alerts. The chosen application must be able to notify selected contacts right away. It guarantees you get immediate help before something bad happens.

  • Support of emergency contacts. The best medical alert systems allow you to connect both emergency services and personal contacts, while the emergency alert apps are more likely to connect you with designated emergency contacts. You might need different kinds of notifications depending on the situation.

  • 24/7 operation. Since you cannot anticipate an emergency, be sure to download an application with 24/7 support.

An emergency alert application with all these features, like AllsWell Alert, will prepare you for most emergencies. This functionality is equally effective for personal safety, health monitoring, and caring about the elderly.

AllsWell Alert for Medical and Emergency Alerts

AllsWell Alert is a personal safety & emergency alert app for people living, commuting, or traveling alone. It combines the panic button functionality with inactivity monitoring, enabling the app to send your emergency contact an alert with your location even when you cannot press a button. Such functionality makes AllsWell Alert a universal solution to ask for help in case of health issues and safety threats. 

Besides, AllsWell Alert is much more cost-effective than emergency and medical alert devices. Pay $9.99/month only to get an app with 24/7 support and rich functionality.

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