A trustworthy pharmacy with a well-priced mobile plan
Nickel and dime services that could add up
Walgreens is known all across the U.S. for being “on every corner” to provide prescription and over-the-counter pharmacy products.
A lesser known service is the “Ready Response” alert service.
It makes sense, their market is predominantly individuals who may be concerned about medical emergencies. The thought may throw you off, but the service is decent and surprisingly flexible.
This is a completely separate venture from the brand’s storefront. Equipment can be bought from the Walgreen’s site, but there is no integration with the brick and mortar locations.
In other words, you can’t pay your bill when you pick up your script.
The plans and gear for Ready Response is basic and simple. Pricing on the mobile service makes it a decent value, but there’s a bit of nickel and diming going on with additional equipment that’s available.
Here’s a description of the plans:
- Vi Home Unit: The base plan/unit includes a modern-looking base console unit and pendant. The pendant can be upgraded to a fall detection model. 24/7 monitoring. Multiple connection options are available (land line, VoIP, and cable).
- CEL Home Unit: This is the cellular plan (why it’s called “CEL”). Unless you really want cell communication, the cable option on the cheapest plan is very secure. The base unit is simple, but effective and one pendant is included.
- Ready Response On the Go: The mobile plan that includes a mobile base unit, charging station and one pendant. GPS enabled and a reasonable price tag make this plan the best value.
All plans seem to require a small “activation fee”.
Most other companies don’t require any sort of setup fees. So, even though it’s less than a month of service it’s annoying.
The equipment isn’t state-of-the-art and most is industry standard. The range that your pendant emergency button can be from the base units is shockingly low. The rest of the industry varies from 500-1500 feet.
All of the Walgreen’s tech has less than a 400 foot range.
Oddly enough the “Vi” Base Console Unit is the best-looking console in the medical alert system business. It’s well-designed, modern and will be very discrete in the home.
The backup battery is 30 hours and it has a 390 foot range.
The “CEL” base unit looks like the units from most other monitoring services. About the size of an answering machine with a few buttons to be put in a central location of your house.
There is a backup battery (in case of power outage) of 30 hours and a range of 390 feet.
On the Go gives you a mobile console unit and charging station. The unit itself is about the size of a deck of cards and always has to be with you (it doesn’t work with a pendant).
It’s water resistant, GPS enabled and has a 36 hour battery life.
The pendant that comes standard with every plan includes a lanyard for neck wear, a wristband to turn your button into a bracelet and a unique belt clip (first time we’ve seen this).
There are a few other pieces of tech that you can get, but Walgreen’s does it a bit different.
For instance, they sell lock boxes like most of their competitors. The difference is that you are charged a (small) monthly fee to keep it.
Others charge for it straight up with a one-time fee. After a few months, you’ll end up paying way more than it’s worth.
You can upgrade the pendant for any plan to an automatic fall detection pendant. It’s called the “iVi - Intelligent Pendant with Fall Detection”. We know it’s a mouthful, but it’s a pretty cool emergency button.
The sensitivity on the fall detection is adjustable (if you run or play basketball). iVi is also water resistant (the standard button is not).
Visual and audio alerts notify the wearer that a fall has been detected and authorities are being notified.
The downer is an additional monthly fee. This charge is a bit more standard, but still seems like they’re trying to take advantage.
Walgreens Ready Response customer service is available 24/7 Monday through Saturday.
Their toll free number is easy to find on their support page. They are also available by email although phone seems to be their preferred method of customer communication.
Also on their support page are a number of downloadable PDF’s of quick start guides for their different Ready Response models.
Ready Response is cellular and GPS enabled, which runs off the AT&T 3G network. Ready Response Vi is the only model to require a land line.
Walgreens does not own or operate their own monitoring center. Instead they have partnered with Tunstall Americas, a leader in healthcare communications.
Tunstall Americas has two geographically separate response centers to provide better coverage and to work independently in case one experiences a power outage or natural disaster.
Their response centers are always available 24/7 to help during emergencies. They also claim to have 24 hour bilingual support available in any language.
They also automatically record and digitally archive all phone interactions for quality assurance.