Philips Lifeline Medical Alert System Review
Philips Lifeline has helped over 7 million customers live their lives independently. As one of the first companies to offer a medical alert system in the North American market, they have over 40 years under their belt and the refined products to reflect that.
The Philips Lifeline was conceived in 1972 by gerontologist Andrew Dibner. Dr. Dibner and his wife Susan, who has a background in sociology, started Lifeline in 1974. Their personal emergency response systems were well received, and it didn’t take long before they rapidly expanded. The company went public in 1983, and Philips acquired Lifeline in 2006.
Throughout the company’s history, they continually look for ways to improve their medical alert solutions to better suit the needs of their senior customers. Both at-home and mobile medical alarm systems are available.
Equipment & Tech
This traditional medical alert system is designed to keep you safe while you’re at home. The emergency response pendant pairs with the base station, and when you press it, the response associate talks to you through the base station. The medical alert pendant only works when it’s within range of the base unit.
This is an at-home and mobile medical alert system combination. The medical alert pendant is equipped with GPS and other location services and acts as a full system when you’re out of the house. When you’re at home, it pairs to the base station and acts similar to the HomeSafe model. It also includes AutoAlert, the fall detection feature offered by Philips Lifeline.
This mobile all-in-one unit frees you up to go anywhere you’d like, and is best for people with an active lifestyle. You can communicate with Lifeline directly through the medical alert pendant, so you don’t need to worry about being close enough to a base station to talk to someone during an emergency. Fall detection gets you help if you take a bad spill onto the ground or floor.
When Lifeline needs to find your exact location during an emergency, it uses five location technologies to improve accuracy and response time. The waterproof pendant can go with you into the bathroom, so you’re not left unprotected if you take a fall in these areas. The GoSafe 2 battery lasts up to 3 days on a single charge.
Philips Medication Dispenser $59.95 per month
This smart medication dispenser helps seniors remember to take the right medications at the right times. It’s capable of dispensing 60 cups of medicine with up to six doses per day, and an early dose feature is available if the normal routine gets disrupted.
The system can alert the caregiver if any of the following occurs: dispenser errors, missed medication, power outage, and refills. The controlled access features provide peace of mind for all parties. If the power goes out, the 18-hour battery backup takes over.
Voice Extension $10 per month
Do you have an exceptionally large house? You can add more Lifeline communicator units throughout your home.
Key Lockbox for $29.95
This lockbox allows emergency responders to access your house keys when you are incapacitated or otherwise can’t get to the door.
Monitoring & Features
Two-way Voice Communication
The emergency medical alert base station offers direct communication with a trained responder. It’s a similar experience to using a speaker phone to talk to someone. The microphone and speaker on the unit are quite sensitive, so they’ll be able to hear you.
The bathtub and shower are prime locations for seniors to fall. You don’t want to take off your pendant in these areas, and you don’t have to with these water-resistant models.
Automatic Battery Replacement
Philips Lifeline monitors the systems for their battery life and will automatically replace the buttons as needed.
Auto Alert Advanced Fall Detection
This system uses three types of fall detection methods to determine whether it’s a true fall or a false alarm. Accelerometers and barometric sensors track the environmental changes that indicate a fall. The company has a powerful algorithm designed to tell the difference between an actual fall and something that only seems like a fall.
Not every situation needs an EMT or a police officer. Sometimes you just need help from a neighbor or a family member. Philips Lifeline keeps track of the response types that you request so they can deliver a personalized experience during emergencies.
The GoSafe medical alert system uses a GPS technology called assisted GPS. Since GPS is not a fail-safe location tracker, this system also leaves a digital bread crumb trail, registers Wi-Fi locations, has an audio beacon in place and also supports direct two-way communication. In total, it uses six location technologies.
For the home medical alert system base units, you have a 30-hour battery backup that takes over when the power goes out.
Both HomeSafe and GoSafe medical alert systems have cellular connectivity, so you don’t have to rely on Wi-Fi to get assistance. For the HomeSafe model, you do have a choice between a landline connection and a cellular one.
Installation & Usability
Philips Lifeline is an outlier in the medical alert system market. They charge for installation, whether you’re self-installing or getting a professional to help. It’s not complicated to set this system up, but it is nice to have the peace of mind of an on-hand professional if it’s necessary.
The user experience is excellent with this medical alert system. Everything works smoothly and the way that it’s promised. Philips is clear about the various features that are available and provide resources on how to use them.
The Philips Lifeline response associates are quick to answer emergency calls, picking up in as little as 12 seconds. The company has invested a lot into its call center and employees, and it shows through their stellar customer service reputation. These US and Canada based response associates are solely dedicated to Lifeline customers. They have 200 agents available to handle the call volume and ensure that no one is waiting too long to get much-needed assistance.
Philips has a rock-solid infrastructure, so seniors always have the help that they need, and their backup systems are in place to take over in case something happens to the facilities. The systems in the buildings keep everything operational during disasters and power outages. Since Philips has multiple call centers across two countries, it’s also easy to route calls to a location that isn’t affected.
All of the Philips Lifeline response associates go through 80 hours of training revolving around stress management and gerontology. They also get hands-on training to learn how to best respond to the common situations they’re faced with. This investment in their employees has led to excellent retention in Lifeline, with the average length of employment coming in at seven years. Some people have been there for 25 years and counting.
Ongoing monitoring, coaching sessions, and refresher training keep everyone at the top of their game. The call centers support more than 140 languages through an interpreter service, and many of the response associates are bilingual in Spanish.
Cost & Pricing
Philips Lifeline has made some interesting decisions when it comes to their pricing structure. They’re one of the only medical alert companies that charge activation fees, which are typically $50 and DIY installation fees, which are $19.95. A professional installation will run you $99.
The equipment costs for the HomeSafe Standard model are built into the monthly fees, but you do have to pay a device fee for both of the mobile options.
The monthly plan costs are also at the top-end of the medical alert system market.
- HomeSafe Standard is $29.95 per month with a landline connection and $43.95 per month for cellular. You also pay a $50 activation fee.
- If you want to upgrade to the AutoAlert unit with fall detection, your price increases to $44.95 per month for the landline connection, and $58.95 for the wireless.
- GoSafe is $54.95 per month for a landline connection and $69.95 per month for wireless. This model also requires a $149 device fee.
- GoSafe 2 is $49.95 per month and has a $99.95 device fee.
Philips Lifeline does have a 30-day return policy, but customers have said that the terms are relatively strict.
Philips Lifeline has a great set of medical alert solutions and amazing customer service. However, the service is one of the most expensive on the market, and it’s easy to blow your budget when you start adding on options.