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AT&T designs automated mobile falls management system

March 5, 2013
by Pamela Tabar, Senior Editor
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When an older person falls, it’s crucial to call caregivers immediately. But what if the caregiver could call the senior, no matter where they fell?

A wearable device with the communications capability of a cell phone and a sensor that can detect a fall and then contact a call center automatically will be the latest addition to AT&T’s mobile healthcare service line, the company announced this week.

The Planned Mobile Personal Emergency Response System (mPERS) uses a two-way communication platform based on cellular. If a fall occurs, a sensor automatically triggers the device to contact the call center—no button pushing needed. The call center operator then attempts to make voice contact with the wearer to confirm the fall or the accidental trigger of the sensor. If the wearer needs help or does not respond, the call center can direct emergency response services to the wearer’s location using GPS location technology.

The system, a key component of AT&T’s new remote patient monitoring business line, melds several technologies that have been on the market for years, but never put together in this manner. Unlike patient monitoring systems based on installed, perimeter-defined wireless networks or radio frequency ID (RFID) technology, this system can locate a person anywhere within AT&T’s cellular network reach, and pinpoint their location using GPS.

The mPERS system will include the services of Valued Relationships Inc (VRI), a healthcare monitoring company focused on seniors. In 2012, AT&T partnered with VRI to expand AT&T's remote patient monitoring capabilities.

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