A Button Push On Your Lockscreen Could Be the Difference Between Life and Death

A Button Push On Your Lockscreen Could Be the Difference Between Life and Death

Alert is an app for patients with long-term illnesses that allows them to signal help with a shake of their phone

Anna Johansson
  • 26 august 2015

For patients with a long-term illness like diabetes, the ability to receive the help you need when you need it is a rare and precious commodity. Today, there’s an app for that, and it’s called Alert from HelpAround.

How It Works

The app (which is currently marketed toward both iPhones and Androids, though the Android app does have less functionality) was originally created to help those with diabetes connect with a medical professional when their blood glucose levels became too elevated. With just a push of a button or a shake of the device, app users can begin a conference call or group text with three preselected contacts, and even call 911 if their condition escalates quickly.

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The app user can customize the settings by inserting three contacts as emergency call numbers. These contacts will generally be friends, family, or even health care providers. When the person’s glucose levels are higher than normal or they find themselves in a medical emergency, they can call their contacts by pushing a button on the smartphone lock screen or by shaking the phone while the app is running, which is useful if the emergency renders the person speechless.

Connects to HealthKit for Ultimate Security

The app is also connected to Apple HealthKit, which is a mHealth network that uses health data from a variety of devices and apps in order to assess a person’s overall health. This means that if HealthKit detects that the user’s glucose levels have reached an unhealthy level, it will communicate that information to Alert, and the app will automatically begin a call to the emergency contacts, unless the user manually stops it.

Connects to Diabetes Helpers

The Alert app is also meant to accompany the original HelpAround app called Diabetes Helpers, which is an app that helps diabetes patients connect with other diabetes patients to share supplies or communicate about their illnesses. Users appreciate this app because it allows them to take care of minor emergencies without rushing to the hospital or ending up with a massive bill. The Alert app takes it one step further by allowing users to reach out to specific individuals in case of an emergency.


A Multi-Health Condition Solution

This app could be monumental for diabetes patients. Diabetes is the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, according to the American Diabetes Association, causing nearly 70,000 deaths per year. If this app is successful as the makers hope it will be, that number could be dramatically reduced.

However, the app isn’t only useful for those with diabetes. Yishai Knobel, CEO of HelpAround Inc., says that the app can help a wide array of those in need.

“We have people right now who have epilepsy, people with dementia and Alzheimer’s, or caregivers who might get stuck with an elderly parent and need help. We have people who suffer from panic attacks, and maybe you’re out of breath and can’t describe where you are…We wanted to make the pre-911 circle as easy and accessible as possible.”

In each of these areas, the app could be a lifesaver, connecting users with someone who can help in a time of need.

HIPAA Compliance Concerns

One commonly addressed concern with the app is HIPAA compliance. The HIPAA laws were written nearly 20 years ago, before apps were even a thought, which means that many healthcare related apps are a little fuzzy when it comes to HIPAA compliance.

For that reason, users are warned to use end-to-end encryption to protect outgoing data and messages from the app. Encrypting the information will help to keep your privacy secure, and ensure that personal medical information doesn’t get into the wrong hands.

Despite this, the Alert app is looking like a new frontier for medical services. It could be the life-saving app long-term illness patients have been looking for. When used in combination with the other compatible apps, the Alert app has proven to be one of the most accurate, real-time health apps on the market, thanks to its assessment of continuous health data.


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+fitness / sport

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