Cellular-powered medical alert systems with ultra-fast response times
- 17-second average response time
- Low-cost monthly monitoring plans
- First company to offer cellular coverage
MobileHelp is a medical alert system based in Boca Raton, Florida. Considering Florida’s high percentage of retirees, that’s as good a place as any to base a medical alert business.
But the company says it doesn’t just help people eligible for Social Security. According to its FAQ, MobileHelp products have assisted people from the ages of 19 to 113. That’s a heck of a range, but there’s no doubt that the biggest target audience is senior citizens who want to retain some sense of independence regardless of if they live alone or with others.
MobileHelp’s mission page lists objectives like “to be someone’s hero, every day” and “to delivery legendary service, every day.” Those are both lofty and noble goals, so let’s see how well it’s doing with our Security.org MobileHelp review.
Equipment & Tech
The company reports answering a call for help every 7.5 minutes. To do that, it provides customers with a mix of devices that work at home and on-the-go. In fact, MobileHelp says it was the first medical alert company to offer medical alert systems that work via cellular data and don’t require a landline.
Of course, you can also bundle some options together. The MobileHelp Duo is advertised as the company’s best value. It’s also touted as “the most complete emergency medical system available today.” This package comes with a mobile base station plus a mobile help button with GPS capabilities. The base station has two-way communication so you can talk to the dispatcher on the other end of the line and tell them what kind of help you need, if any.
If you’re looking for standard at-home protection, then MobileHelp Classic might be the best option for you. It includes a base station with one help button. It also comes with a free lock box, as do most of the company’s products. Why is a lock box helpful? It allows you to keep a door key in a box that accessible to first responders. They’ll break down the door if they need to, but opening it is easier and faster for everyone involved.
MobileHelp Solo is a stellar choice if you want something lightweight and portable that will also work both inside and outside your home. It comes with a help button and GPS service. If you’re outside a lot doing things like walking the dog or gardening, this will give you peace of mind without limiting your mobility. You can press the help button and receive assistance anywhere that has cellular coverage.
Finally, there’s MobileHelp Smart. It’s a smart watch and medical alert system rolled together in one attractive watch package. If you want to keep an eye on your activity levels and heart rate, this is the device for you. This will also help you keep track of fitness level and diet goals, and the built-in weather app will tell you whether today is a good day to go for a brisk walk. And don’t worry, because the easy-to-press help button is still here in case you need emergency assistance. It just doesn’t look like most medial alert systems you’ll see out in the wild. Unlike the other products listed above, it doesn’t come with a free lock box.
If you’d prefer a typical neck or wrist button but want it to look a little more stylish, you can replace either your lanyard or wrist button band with a pendant or watch band that makes you more comfortable. However, the standard neck pendant does come with a breakaway lanyard designed to keep you from choking.
You can also buy automatic fall detection buttons with every plan, though they’ll cost extra. Automatic fall detection buttons are a genius idea because you don’t have to press anything to get help. Instead, the button will automatically summon help if it detects a fall.
Monitoring & Features
What exactly happens when you press the help button? For starters, your location and other relevant personal information is sent to telephone operators employed by MobileHelp in a U.S.-based facility. They’ll contact you to determine how serious the situation is. If needed, they’ll send over an ambulance.
But if you don’t think you need an ambulance, that’s fine as well. You can also ask for them to contact a neighbor, family member, or friend who can come over and check on you.
If you’re too hurt to talk or somehow get knocked unconscious by the fall, the emergency dispatchers won’t just assume you’re fine and hang up. Instead, they’ll immediately send a medical response team to the scene to assess the situation firsthand.
Neck and wrist buttons have battery life of up to 5 years. In other words, you’re not going to be running to the drugstore to buy AAs. The buttons should work anywhere within your home. To be more specific, MobileHelp says they have a range of about 600 feet from the base station, though it varies a bit from house to house. So you’ll be detected if you stay within that distance of the base station. And speaking of battery life, the base station will keep running for about 30 hours after the power goes out.
Allergic to latex? Then you’ll be happy to know that the wrist band is made of silicone.
The pendant on your neck, button on your wrist, and automatic fall button are all waterproof. This doesn’t mean you can go scuba diving with them, but you can wear them in the shower or bath.
Remember answering machines? The Cellular Base Station is about that size (3 ounces). You can talk to dispatchers through Base Station and Mobile Device, but not the wearable help buttons.
Each device uses the AT&T network. AT&T is one of the largest telecom providers on the planet, but that doesn’t make it available in every single locale. If you live in a rural place, you might want to check a coverage map before signing up. By the way, you don’t have to be an AT&T customer to use the network through MobileHelp.
Family members can log into MobileHelp Connect, which includes a map that tells them where your device is, among other things. The company describes it as a “suite of online tools” for “authorized caregivers.”
Need medication reminders? You can get them through the base station, though you’ll have to prove your email address during sign-up.
Installation & Usability
MobileHelp promises that all their equipment can be installed in a matter of seconds, not minutes. You don’t need a technician to come over to your house and figure it out for you.
As mentioned before, the base station for your home runs on cellular data. All you need to do is place it on a flat surface like a table or nightstand, then plug it in and go. You should test your system once a month. It doesn’t even require a call to technical support or dispatchers. You press a test button and follow the instructions.
If applicable, you can and should test your mobile device at the same time as your base station. Your mobile device might transfer you to a dispatcher during the testing process, but if that happens, there’s no need to worry. You can just tell them you’re running a test.
MobileHelp’s customer support team is available from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday.
MobileHelp operates two monitoring centers in partnership with Rapid Response. One center is in Corona, California, while the other is in Syracuse, New York. Both centers are reachable 24 hours a day, including holidays. If you have an emergency and need help, rest assured that a trained agent will be there to respond. The average response time is 17 seconds.
Cost & Pricing
MobileHelp Duo is priced at $443.40 annually. Prefer monthly billing? That’ll be $41.95 a month, which comes out to $5 more a month than the annual plan. If you want something in between, you can opt for either a quarterly or semi-annual plan with almost every package mentioned here.
MobileHelp Classic is $359.40 a year, or $19.95 a month.
MobileHelp Solo costs $395.40 on an annual plan, or $37.95 if you want to pay on a month-to-month basis.
The MobileHelp Smart Watch is not part of a monthly plan. Instead, you pay $349.95 up front to access all its features.
If that sounds like a lot, we should note that there’s no additional equipment charge as long as you’re subscribing to an active plan. You can also get a 30-day risk-free trial, and the company promises that you won’t have to pay any activation fees or commit to long-term contracts.
Automatic fall detection is not included in any of the basic plans. If you want it, you’ll need to pay an extra $10 a month.
MobileHelp broke new ground in the medical alert industry by offering products that don’t require a landline to use. That’s important in a world where so many people only have a cell phone. Its product line is also easy to understand, and pricing is relatively intuitive as well. The flexibility to choose from annual, semi-annual, quarterly, and monthly plans is another useful perk.
Other companies can take closer to a minute to respond, which makes MobileHelp’s average response time of 17 seconds one of the best in the business. MobileHelp Connect lets loved ones log into an online portal to check on their loved one’s whereabouts. It also lets them view their activity history to make sure nothing is out of the ordinary.
MobileHelp’s biggest drawback might be the way it handles its automatic fall button. It’s not included with any of the available package, which means you must pay an additional $10 a month no matter what. For most people, that won’t be a dealbreaker, but it’s still worth keeping in mind.