The Critical Difference Between a Medical Alert Bracelet and a Medical Alert System

May 30th, 2014

UPDATED JULY 2021

In an emergency, time is of the essence. We want emergency personnel to respond rapidly and have the information they need to deliver care quickly. The combination of a medical alert system wearable and a medical ID can help. EMTs and other first responders are trained to look for a medical ID when treating someone who can’t speak for themselves.

What does a medical alert bracelet or pendant do?

These wearables can help you get medical help fast. Part of a medical alert system, the bracelet or pendant has a button that wearers can push when they need assistance. The call is answered by trained staff who can offer help, notify loved ones or call for emergency assistance. Some models also come with automatic fall detection that notifies call center operators even if the wearer cannot press the button.

Medical alert systems are suitable for anyone, especially people who:

  • Live alone
  • Want to remain independent
  • Live with one or more chronic condition
  • Take medication that increase fall risk
  • Have mobility issues
  • Want to feel safer and increase peace of mind for their loved ones

What is a medical ID bracelet or necklace?

Medical IDs provide important information about your health — such as medical conditions, allergies and medications – on a bracelet or pendant so emergency personnel has the details if you can’t communicate. They are particularly useful for people living with:

  • Cognitive and memory issues or development disabilities
  • Heart conditions
  • Diabetes
  • Food or medication allergies
  • Asthma, emphysema, or COPD
  • Epilepsy
  • Autism
  • Implants such as steel rods, brain shunts or stents

You can find an ID to match your personal style – just make sure they include the emergency medical symbol so emergency care providers know it’s more than jewelry.

So which is right for me?

While either of these options helps in an emergency, the combination of medical ID bracelet like the MedicAlert ID and a medical alert system may be the best option to improve the likelihood of getting the care you need quickly.