The WellCare Today Samsung Galaxy 4 LTE Smartwatch with HealthAssist (starting at $199, plus monthly subscription) is more than just a stylish smartwatch. In addition to connecting you to an emergency response agent when you fall or need assistance, it takes ECG readings, monitors your blood oxygen level and heart rate, and tracks your daily activities. It also offers many caregiver features including medication and appointment reminders, messaging, and two-way hands-free calling. Remote patient monitoring sends your health data in real time directly to your doctor. All of these features, along with the watch’s Wi-Fi connectivity and GPS location tracking, make it the new Editors’ Choice winner for Mobile Medical Alert Systems.
Stylish and elegant design
The Editors’ Choice award-winning Samsung Galaxy Watch4 is the foundation of the system, but the real star here is WellCare Today’s HealthAssist (more on this later). You still get all the functionality of the Wear OS and Samsung app as you do with the regular Watch4, but HealthAssist software turns it into a capable medical alert system.
The watch is available in many styles and sizes. WellCare Today offers standard 40mm ($199) and 44mm ($229) models in black, silver, or rose gold, as well as 42mm ($299) and 46mm ($329) classic models (with rotating bezel) in Black or silver.
WellCare Today sends us the black version of the standard 44mm watch. Our test model measures 1.7 inches x 0.4 inches (WD), weighs approximately 1.1 ounces, and comes with a soft, lightweight rubber wrist strap. Despite its elegant appearance, this watch is very durable: it meets the MIL-STD-810G standard for durability and sports an IP68 rating for weather resistance. It also adheres to the 5ATM water-resistant specification, which means it can last for up to 10 minutes at depths of up to 164 feet. The 1.4 inch AMOLED display has a resolution of 480 x 480 pixels and features a Corning Gorilla Glass cover.
Powering the clock is a 1.18GHz dual-core Exynos W920 processor, which comes with 1.5GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. It has Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and Wi-Fi radios, along with built-in fall detection, location tracking, and hands-free two-way talk (AT&T provides cellular service for the latter). The bottom of the watch contains a multifunctional health sensor that can perform an electrocardiogram; Record blood oxygen levels and your body composition (body fat, skeletal muscle, body water, and BMI); Take a stress test and measure your heart rate. The watch also has a pedometer and provides Sleep Insight readings based on your activity and blood oxygen levels while you sleep. Temperature and blood pressure readings are on the horizon pending FDA approval.
The watch uses a 361mAh rechargeable battery that can last up to 40 hours between charges, but as with the Medical Guardian MGMove Smartwatch (starting at $199.95), you have to charge the watch daily using the included magnetic charger to be safe.
The right side of the watch has two buttons: press and hold both simultaneously to turn the watch on. When you press and hold the top button, you can just say, “Call for help,” to initiate a call to 911 or the Emergency Response Center as per your preference (this is pre-programmed prior to shipment). Pressing this button twice will automatically dial the number. The lower button wakes up the clock and doubles as a back button for navigating the menus.
Today’s WellCare Subscription Features and Watch Interface
The two available subscription tiers are comparable to those of the Medical Guardian MGMove Smartwatch ($39.95 a month) and the LifeStation Sidekick Smart ($43.95 a month), but neither of these other watches offer fall detection.
A HealthAssist Gold subscription costs $34.95 per month and includes one-tap calls to a caregiver, one-tap calls to 911 or an emergency call center, medication reminders, medication compliance management (the watch alerts the caregiver if you don’t take your medications), blood oxygen monitoring, Blood pressure (again, pending FDA approval), fall detection, and ECG tracking. For $44.95 per month, a platinum subscription gives you everything above plus remote patient monitoring (RPM). Using RPM, the watch sends data such as your ECG, blood oxygen, blood pressure, and stress readings to your participating physician or caregiver so they can monitor your health in real time. This allows doctors and caregivers to act quickly when data indicates an increased risk of a heart attack, stroke, or other medical problem. In addition to the subscription fee, you must pay a one-time $30 cellular activation fee and $25 shipping fee.
Despite its powerful feature set, the watch is very easy to use. When you turn it on or press a button, you see a classic watch dial with hour, minute, and second hands. Click the amber circle on the left to automatically place a call to your caregiver, or click the green circle on the right to initiate a test call to make sure everything is working properly. When the watch detects a fall, it automatically calls 911 or an emergency call center if you remain motionless. At this point, agents can locate you and send assistance if you don’t respond. If there is no emergency, press the red X to cancel the call.
Slide the watch face to the left to see blood oxygen, ECG, heart rate, body composition and stress measurements. Keep swiping left to access the pedometer and Sleep Insights screens, as well as to access the FAQ screen; contact HealthAssist customer service; View health data including reminder notifications and daily activity. The special functions screen allows you to update data (send data to servers); Check battery life View Wi-Fi network and cellular signal strength; and send diagnostic information to HealthAssist.
Back on the connection face, swipe down to access the Wi-Fi, NFC, and Bluetooth settings; adjust screen brightness; Enable sound and vibration modes for calls and notifications; Configure ringtones and change font size. Swipe up from the bottom of the dial to access Samsung apps that let you view your call history, configure settings, access a compass, check the weather, set timers, use a calculator, and more. You can technically connect the watch to your Samsung phone, but we don’t recommend that, because doing so deletes the HealthAssist app and all of its data.
Users and caregivers can use the HealthAssist Web Companion app to enter medical information; Create reminders for medications and appointments; tracking your location; Monitor emergency call events; and more. The software is only available on the web (there is no mobile companion app), but it is very easy to use and offers a wealth of information.
When you log in for the first time, you’ll see a dashboard with several big green buttons: Medications, Reminders, Device Messages, Personal Health History, Inbox, and Device Location. Press the medication button to enter drug names, doses, and schedules. Here, you can also view medication records, choose pharmacies, add reminders, and see if your scheduled medication dose is complete. Use the reminder button to add one-time or recurring reminders for things like doctor appointments. Tool messages tell you when to take an ECG or check your blood oxygen level. The Personal Health Record button allows you to enter information such as your primary care physician, insurance company, and important medical history. Message inbox allows you to see past reminders (with timestamps). Finally, the device’s location button opens a map that shows your location in real time.
Simple setup, responsive performance
Preparing your HealthAssist watch for first use is easy. Simply plug in the charger and place the watch on the magnetic charging dial for about 30 minutes to make sure it is fully charged. At this point, you or your caregiver can log into the HealthAssist web portal and enter medication reminders, doctor and insurance information, and emergency contact information. It is also a good idea to press the green circle on the watch face to test the watch before going outside.
The watch worked well in our tests. The average response time (the time it takes the watch to connect us to a live agent after the button is pressed) was identical to the Medical Guardian MGMove watch’s response time of 26 seconds. For comparison, the LifeStation Sidekick Smart and Kanega Watch took an average of 28 and 46 seconds respectively.
As with every medical alert device we tested, the emergency response agents were helpful and courteous. The two-way audio was also clean and loud enough. I compared the pedometer readings to those of the Fitbit Inspire 2 and they were almost identical. The device’s location tracking was also accurate.
Wrist-based comprehensive health monitoring
The WellCare Today Samsung Galaxy 4 LTE Smart Watch with HealthAssist is an excellent alternative to a portable medical alert device that you attach to your belt or wear around your neck. Granted, you have to shell out $199 an hour and up to another $45 a month for a subscription, but that’s pretty much in line with what you’d pay for other medical alert hours. To its advantage, the WellCare Today watch includes fall detection, provides location tracking across the web, and reports with real-time health data for doctors and caregivers. All this earns WellCare Today Samsung Galaxy 4 LTE Smartwatch with HealthAssist Editors’ Choice Award for Medical Alerts.