LifeFone, Mobile Alert App: Review

LifeFone, Mobile Alert: Review

The Basics

Product name: Mobile Alert App 

Manufacturer / Distributor: LifeFone

Compilation: Sept. 2015

This page contains our LifeFone Mobile Alert App review.

 

 

Analyst Summary: LifeFone Mobile Alert App

This Medical Alert App turns your smartphone into a medical alert system. Works on Android and iPhone.

App Testing Results

Written By: Richard Caro.  Last Updated: Thu, 06/02/2016 - 18:34.

I wanted to like this App because I am also testing the company's hardware product (ie a conventional medical alert system) and they have been very pleasant and helpful as I got that set up.

However I am not enthusiastic about the App unfortunately, especially when compared to the 5 star App from Great Call which has a very similar functionality but which I found much easier to use.

Very confusing to operate

It was hard to get set up (see later) but I would have put up with that. But I find it extremely difficult to use successfully, and am sure in an emergency I would have a problem.

You can set the App up so that when you launch it, the App automatically sends out an alert. This might be OK but seems like a recipe for false alarms. You can also set it to alarm when you shake the phone which at first seemed like a terrible idea. However when I tried it out, it seemed that you needed first to launch the App and second to shake the phone. Maybe not such a bad approach after all. But at least for me, I really wanted a nice big alarm button I would need to press and that does not seem to be an option.

For testing purposes I mainly kept it set so that I first needed to launch the App and then take one more step to send an alert.

They give you a choice of three different types of alarms the App can launch. One is called "Panic". One is called "Medical". And one is called "Concern". The website explains the different functionality of these, and they sound like a good idea. However I could not put the App in a mode where I realistically got a chance to use either Medical or Concern.

When you launch the App, you see a big screen of fine print. Initially I thought this would only appear on startup, but it is there every time you launch the App as far as I can see. At the bottom are three extremely faint and small icons. One is for launching an alarm. One is "About" and one is "Settings". You would not find the alarm button in an emergency.

When you do trigger an alarm (either by pushing the small faint icon after the App has launched, or automatically by launching the App if you set it up that way) you see a bright red screen and a big count down number that counts down from 4 to zero. It says that after counting down it will send the "Panic" alarm.

What I expected, but could not find out how to do, was to have three big buttons (panic, medical, concern) and have the option to choose the one I want at my leisure.

Inconvenient set up process

There was no difficulty downloading the App.

But you need to also set up a monthly recurring subscription to have the 24/7 monitoring service that is the only way you can use this App. I was happy to do that. It was $6/mth as I was already a customer with a monitored alarm at home, and it would have been $7/mth if I was not already a customer. I found out how to sign up for this on the LifeFone website and it was pretty easy to give them my money. That part worked fine.

However, I assumed I would then automatically get whatever I needed to activate the App but that was wrong. A few days passed and I did not hear from the company. I tried to set up the App but it seemed you needed a special account and a special "AID code" that looked like it probably would come from the company. Since I had not got any such thing when I bought the subscription or afterwards, I ended up calling the company.

They were not immediately able to help but the next day I got a friendly and helpful email providing the codes and passwords I needed to set up the App. I entered them and the App then worked fine.

So this was only moderately inconvenient I suppose. But it was noticeably less smooth than the on-boarding for the GreatCall 5 star App.

 

 

 

Tests completed

Written By: Tech-enhanced Life webmaster.  Last Updated: Thu, 06/02/2016 - 18:35.

I included this App with three others in our "Mobile Medical Alert System: Comparative Testing" analysis.

As part of this test, we tried out this App in multiple locations and on multiple days over the space of a month, in real world situations. We compared it to other hardware based emergency response pendants as well.

Not recommended

I can't recommend this App. It works pretty well, so long as you don't mind the fact that you simply cannot easily see the "button" to press when you open the App and want to call for help.

But I consider this a fundamental problem.

I prefer the far easier to use 5Star App from GreatCall.

The one advantage this App has, however, is price. If you take a look at the comparative prices in the table included in the article summarizing our comparative analysis (see link above), you will see this is the least expensive of the alternatives we evaluated for "monitored out and about emergency response".

 

 

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Product Line & Company: LifeFone

LifeFone is often well reviewed in the various online review sites and offers a fairly broad range of medical alert systems. For in-home use they have all you might expect, including fall detection and the choice of cellular or landline connection to the responders.

They have an App for those who want to use a smartphone as their medical alert system.

For out-and-about use, they offer a single pendant that can connect by itself to the responders.  .........Read more

 

About this Research

This product review is part of an extensive series of medical alert system reviews of over 50 products, including hands-on evaluation and real-world testing of the most promising ones, in real-world situations.

These reviews and analyses are part of our Research Project designed to help older adults and their families Choose the Right Medical Alert System for THEM — the result of which is our Medical Alert Systems: Selection Guide.

We have tried hard to make this research as independent and objective as possible. It has not been funded or sponsored by any of the vendors of these products, and includes no advertising or "sponsored content". The team that conducted this research has strong scientific, clinical, and aging services backgrounds. You can read more about the team that did this research at the links above. 

 

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