Medical alert bracelets – now inside your phone

OnCall Defender Medical Alert (iTunes) is an iPhone app that features 3G connection to a 24 hour security monitoring service. Via a subscription service, you can use your iPhone to send an emergency notification to the service after which local law enforcement or EMT services, depending on the type of alarm, will be dispatched.

The advantage over using 911 is that the monitoring service automatically receives GPS localization of your whereabouts and that you can cancel the emergency call within 15 seconds. The service costs $16.99/month or $9.99 with a one-year subscription. From their website:

The agent will know your name, address, and any specific health conditions or information that you previously entered into your profile. If the police and/or EMS are dispatched, they will already be informed of your situation and your location

A separate product, OnCall Defender Panic Alert performs similar functions but for law enforcement events, a combination app is also available. We recently reported on a study at Florida State University on using Android smartphones to detect falls. While there are dedicated devices using accelerometers to detect falls (Medgadget), in the future, there might be some advantage in integrating detection and communication using a smartphone.


Felasfa Wodajo, MD

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8 Responses to Medical alert bracelets – now inside your phone

  1. Medical Alert Systems September 12, 2010 at 3:27 am #

    How many seniors over the age of 65 do you think carry an iphone or Android? I would think not many. For the home, a conventional system such as is still the simplest and most effective solution. Until someone comes up with a small cellular GPS pendant or wristband solely for the PERS function, there is nothing available I would trust someones life with.

    • Felasfa Wodajo September 12, 2010 at 4:02 am #

      Obviously not many is the answer.

      But I would suspect that the combination of complex software platforms such as smartphones and small wireless biosensors means that the future will not just be bracelets or single function alarm calls.

      • Medical Alert Systems December 17, 2011 at 8:39 pm #

        In the future, medical alert systems and devices will evolve. Once pendants or wristwatches become small enough to contain GPS locating systems and two way speakers, it will be a game changer for many devices.

    • Brenda March 2, 2012 at 7:31 pm #

      I’m 69 and am very interested in a medical alert system for my iphone. Many seniors today are tech savy, frugal and often away from home. We are working longer, out doing things and carry mobile phones with us. Indeed, many of us no longer have land phones. A medical alert on a mobile phone is cheaper than a limited, home alert system.

  2. Derek F September 29, 2010 at 10:50 am #

    Yeah this app seems like a total wast of money in my opinion…

    • Iltifat Husain September 29, 2010 at 11:11 am #

      There is potential for younger individuals with chronic diseases, but
      for senior citizens I agree, probably not too useful.

  3. King December 8, 2010 at 9:24 pm #

    I recommend the Just5 cell phone for seniors who want to live independently. The phone can offer peace of mind to everyone in the family as it has free emergency response features. No matter where the user is, he can contact help using the phone in just a press of a button. The phone has also senior-friendly features including amplified sound, bright display and large keys. My mom is using this phone and we discovered it at

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