Reliable systems with advanced activity and compliance monitoring
With 85 percent of seniors suffering from at least one chronic health condition1, including my aging family members, I find myself anxious about their safety. If you’re like me, a medical alert system can offer peace of mind for you and safety for your older loved ones. QMedic offers medical alert systems that keep an extra close eye on your family members so you don’t have to. The company has at-home and on-the-go systems equipped with 24/7 activity and compliance tracking. With the QMedic Caregiver Dashboard and mobile app, you can check the subscribers location and daily activity, get real-time alerts for any abnormal behavior or sleeping patterns, and you’ll even be able to tell if the user is wearing their system or not.
Founded in 2010 by two MIT scientists with a background in health tech, QMedic has been providing high tech, reliable monitoring to seniors for a decade. For this year’s review, I tested out QMedic’s Cellular Medical Alert System and the Mobile GPS Medical Alert System. QMedic takes a different approach with fall detection, which is a standard feature with other companies. Their founders believe that fall detection leads to too many false alarms and deters users from wearing their systems, so instead they offer advanced activity detection, which still makes it easy for family members and caregivers to find out if something is wrong straight away. From my personal experience with QMedic’s systems, I found that they were simple, user-friendly, and reliable. There are no hidden fees or contracts and there’s a 30-day money-back guarantee, which makes it a no brainer to try out their systems. Keep reading for all the details on QMedic, from my experience with the systems to setup to cost!
From the Experts: QMedic’s alert systems have an average response time of 30 seconds, which falls right in the middle of the industry average (15 to 45 seconds).
Before we take a close-up look at the products QMedic offers, let’s cover what I like most about QMedic overall, along with some things to consider before purchasing a QMedic medical alert system.
You’ll be able to choose between two at-home systems and a mobile all-in-one unit for on-the-go use. You’ll first want to decide whether you’re buying the system for a homebody or someone who spends a lot of time away from home. For those that need an in-home system ask yourself: do I want a landline system or one that runs on AT&T’s cellular network?
|QMedic Product||Cost Per Month||Coverage Range||Features||Battery Life||Built for|
|Landline Medical Alert System||$30||1,000 feet||Waterproof wristband or pendant with 2-year battery life, Landline connection, 2-way talk base station||24-hour backup battery||In-home use|
|Cellular Medical Alert System||$30||1,000 feet||Waterproof wristband or pendant with 2-year battery life, No landline required, Cellular AT&T connection, Two-way talk base station||24-hour backup battery||In-home use|
|Mobile GPS Medical Alert System||$45||Unlimited||GPS location tracking, Cellular AT&T connection, Water-resistant, Neck pendant system, Built-in two-way speaker||14-day battery life||On-the-go use|
QMedic offers two systems for in-home use: Landline Medical Alert and Cellular Medical Alert. These two systems are exactly the same, except for their connection type. The landline system uses (you guessed it) a landline connection while the cellular option relies on AT&T’s network. Other than that, the appearance, features, and operation of both systems are exactly the same. I went with the cellular system. The Cellular Medical Alert System came with a base station and a wearable, white, and purple wrist button. During an emergency, the user can either press their wearable help button or the button on the base station, and they’ll be connected to the 24/7 monitoring center in around 30 seconds.
During setup, which I’ll get into in more detail later, I placed my base station in the living room because it’s a central spot in my house. I found that the base station’s speaker was powerful, and I had no trouble hearing the operator during testing and vice versa. The wearable button was small and lightweight, however, the colors did make it stand out a bit. I just tucked the wristband under my shirt sleeve so no one would even know that I was wearing it.
To get a better feel for QMedic’s activity tracking, I downloaded their mobile app and viewed my activity history. The reports were very accurate, down to the small details like how long I slept and the hour-long period when I took off my help button. Because QMedic constantly tracks the user’s behavior so closely, I found that the at-home system would be a great option for disabled or blind seniors. By keeping an extra close eye on the activity of those who are more vulnerable to accidents, QMedic can provide peace of mind to even the most at-risk seniors and their families. Overall, I was very satisfied with QMedic’s landline system, and I found it to be reliable no matter where I tested it throughout the house.
QMedic’s Mobile GPS Medical Alert System is perfect for those in their golden years who are active and still spend a fair amount of time outside the home. The Mobile GPS is an all-in-one system, so all you have to do is throw it on like a necklace and you’ll be set. Whether you’re running to the grocery store or taking a walk with friends, you’ll be covered as long as there’s reliable AT&T reception. The system’s built-in GPS technology lets the monitoring center identify the user’s exact location so help will be sent straight to you during an emergency, even if you don’t know where you are. When I tested the system, all I had to do was press the single black button on the device and I was quickly connected to the monitoring center. The unit comes with a built-in microphone and speaker, allowing me to easily communicate with the live operator.
I found that the mobile unit was lightweight and reliable. The battery life lasted for two full weeks, which meant I didn’t have to worry about leaving the house with a dead alert system. Mobile GPS units from companies like MobileHelp and LifeStation last anywhere from one to five days, so QMedic’s battery life is really solid. I also wore the unit on a walk while it was raining, and it still functioned properly thanks to its water resistance. There’s not much to complain about here!
When I first started researching QMedic, I was concerned that they didn’t offer automatic fall detection. But after learning more about their activity and compliance tracking, I felt like these advanced features made up for the lack of fall detection. QMedic tracks and learns from the wearer’s activity throughout the day and sleeping patterns. If the user’s behavior seems abnormal, for instance, if they’re a lot less active than usual, QMedic will alert caregivers and family members. If anything seems really amiss, emergency help will be sent straight away if the user can’t be contacted. QMedic can also tell when the user isn’t wearing their system. So how exactly does this activity detection work? You can think of it sort of like an Apple Watch or Fitbit. Whenever the user is wearing their wristband or necklace button, it’s able to track the user’s movements and the type of activity and wirelessly send the information to the monitoring center and mobile app.
All of the subscriber’s activity and call history can be viewed online through the Caregiver Dashboard or QMedic’s mobile app. That way, you can check in on your aging family members at any time, providing some added assurance. The app breaks down the wearer’s day by their location and time spent being sedentary, not wearing their system, sleeping, and performing light or vigorous activity. This information is displayed in charts that compare each day’s activity to the user’s average activity and QMedic’s recommended levels of daily activity for each category. QMedic gleans all of this information by actively monitoring the user to learn their patterns and habits. You can also add information about the wearer’s nutrition and medical conditions in the app for the most well-rounded profile possible.
When I asked Jill, a QMedic customer service rep, why the company doesn’t offer fall detection, she told me that QMedic’s founder felt that it wasn’t reliable enough and caused too many false alarms. This can make the system feel like a nuisance and discourage users from wearing them, thus defeating the whole purpose. Plus, fall detection typically costs extra, while QMedic includes activity monitoring with every package, so you’ll be saving on your monthly bill.
Now that you know all ins and outs of QMedic’s medical alert products, let’s dive into my experience with the company!
When I started researching QMedic, I hopped on their website and found that it was really easy to navigate and get all of the details for each system. If you have any questions, the site has a chat window that lets you submit a message and your email address, and a QMedic customer representative will answer your questions via email as soon as possible. I had a few questions, so I used this chat window and found that a representative always got back to me within a few hours.
I sent a message asking if QMedic offers spouse monitoring. I always want the details on a company’s spouse monitoring, as nearly 60 percent of all older adults aging in place live with a partner2. A representative named Rebecca responded and informed me that you can add an extra help button to either in-home system at no extra charge. Many companies, including Philips Lifeline and LifeFone, charge an extra fee for spouse monitoring or require couples to purchase two separate systems, so I was very pleased with QMedic’s free option. However, Rebecca did let me know that I would need to purchase two separate systems if I wanted the most accurate activity tracking possible. If detailed activity tracking isn’t a concern to you, you should be fine with just an extra button.
Later, I hopped on a call with QMedic to find out if the company offers add-on equipment for any of their packages. Jill, the representative I spoke with, let me know that QMedic doesn’t currently offer any extra equipment or features. She said that their main concerns are providing the services that really matter and protecting seniors without overcomplicating things. I couldn’t disagree with that! After getting all of my questions answered, I settled on purchasing both the Cellular Medical Alert System and the Mobile GPS system to get a feel for QMedic’s in-home and on-the-go options.
Buyer's Tip: Make sure to speak with a representative before purchasing as the website might not always be up-to-date with current deals. On QMedic’s website, I saw that adding a second wearable help button to your system costs an extra $10 per month. However, when I spoke with Rebecca, she told me that the second button would come at no extra cost!
When my package arrived (thank you free shipping!) it came with the cellular base unit, a wearable help wristband, the mobile GPS unit on a necklace, and a charging cradle. I started by placing the mobile GPS unit on its charger to get it fully powered up, and a light on the unit lit up to show me it was charging. Then, I began setting up the landline system by plugging the base unit into a power outlet. The help button on the top of the base unit turned green to show that it was on. I then put on my pendant and made a test call with it by pressing the purple button. After a few seconds, the base station started beeping, and I was connected to the 24/7 monitoring station in about 30 seconds. A live operator asked if I needed help, and I used the two-way speaker to let them know I was running a test. Setup for the landline at-home system will be exactly the same, except the base station will need to be plugged into both a phone jack and a power outlet, so you’ll need to place it near your landline.
Once my at-home system was good to go and the mobile unit was fully charged (which took a few hours), I set up my mobile system. All I had to do was put the unit around my neck with the strap provided and press the black help button with an outline of a phone on it. I was connected to the monitoring center again and let the operator know I was running a test. He told me that everything was running properly, and that was it!
Setup Tip: If you purchase the landline system and also have a landline phone that you want to keep, you’ll need to temporarily disconnect the phone from the wall jack during setup. But don’t worry! You can connect your phone’s line to the port on QMedic’s base station labeled “phone.”
When I spoke with Rebecca she informed me that since all of QMedic’s equipment is leased, there isn’t an official product warranty. However, if equipment breaks or malfunctions for any reason other than deliberate damage by the user, QMedic will replace it for free. Plus, if the user is unhappy with their system for any reason, they can return it without penalty and QMedic will even pay for the shipping.
Overall, I was really impressed with QMedic’s advanced activity and compliance monitoring. The detailed tracking, charts, data, and real-time alerts displayed in QMedic’s mobile app gave a comprehensive look at the user’s activity. In my years of testing, I’ve never seen a company offer such thorough activity monitoring. I also appreciate that QMedic doesn’t add extra features that could be confusing for some seniors, as their founders believe that simple, high-quality protection is best for keeping seniors safe. The company doesn’t hide anything in the fine print and their packages are affordable; there are no extra fees for things like activation, shipping, or installation, so you’ll know exactly what to expect on every bill. While I was initially disappointed that QMedic doesn’t offer automatic fall detection, I found that QMedic’s reliable systems and detailed activity and compliance monitoring still provided the peace of mind I was looking for.
QMedic’s in-home systems cost $30 per month, while their Mobile GPS unit comes out to $45 per month.
If you are unhappy with your QMedic system you can return it at any time without being charged a fee. QMedic will even provide the return label.
No, QMedic subscribers will never have to sign a long-term contract. Each system is paid on a month-to-month basis.
Linda’s Acclaimed Career in Senior Care Linda Schlenker is a comforting voice for seniors and caregivers across the U.S. For nearly three decades, Linda has helped seniors remain safe in their own homes, while helping them to regain priceless independence and peace… Learn More About Linda Schlenker
Since graduating from Harvard with an honors degree in Statistics, Jeff has been creating content in print, online, and on television. Much of his work has been dedicated to informing seniors on how to live better lives. As Editor-in-Chief of the personal… Learn More About Jeff Hoyt