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The Monitoring Side of Fall Detection

Alex Flitton
May 17, 2018 1:28:36 PM

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Since it was first introduced to the PERS industry, fall detection has excited and annoyed dealers, operators and subscribers alike. At the concept level, fall detection is a great idea because it seeks to fill a gap in PERS device service–a gap that could become potentially life-threatening. Imagine if a subscriber had a heart attack and fell to the floor. With no ability to push a PERS device button, what can a subscriber do to get help? If fall detection only has pure intentions, then why does it have such a two-faced reputation?

What is fall detection? And how does it work?

Poor Detection Capabilities And Increased Signal Rates

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On top of being more expensive for subscribers, PERS devices with fall detection are notorious for sending false alarms and even for not working at all. In fact, the fall detection feature alone only produces accurate results less than five percent of the time. In a sample of 2253 signals, only 102 of them were actual falls that needed dispatch. Therefore, operators responded to 2151 signals that didn’t need help, dramatically influencing the amount of time operators spend on false alarms while making those accounts much more costly to monitor. 

Areas For Improvement

Fall detection technology has improved drastically over the last few years. While it is not perfect, and dare we say bothersome, it is a technology that shouldn’t be abandoned entirely. It’s potential to save lives and extend independent living for people at risk can be invaluable with enhanced technology in place. New methods of detecting falls are being developed every day and fall detection has even become a hot research topic in numerous academic journals relating to healthcare and even engineering. However, the need still stands for manufacturers to work out the kinks before fall detection should be trusted as a reliable feature. Greater accuracy should be attained, otherwise, devices will continue to send signals every time a person sets a purse down or accidentally knocks their device against a countertop. Dealers who offer fall detection are likely paying a higher monitoring bill than their counterparts who don’t. So, dealers should be conscious of the promises they make to consumers and be sure to properly inform them they should still push their button when an accident happens, even with the fall detection feature. 

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