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How it began

In 1972, gerontologist Andrew Dibner, Ph.D., came up with the idea for an emergency response system in answer to the question: “What would an elderly person do if he or she were alone and needed help?” Two years later, Dibner’s concept became a reality when he and his wife, sociologist Susan Dibner, established Lifeline Systems, Inc.

Dedicated to finding solutions that support the independence of older adults, the Dibners began selling Lifeline Systems. To help even more people, in the late 1970s, they began implementing their call systems in hospitals and other healthcare centers in the U.S. and Canada. Healthcare institutions rented call buttons in a pendant or wrist band style to their patients and responded to their calls.

In 1983, Lifeline went public, staying focused on evolving its technology and services. Advancements included waterproof call buttons that could be worn in the shower — one of the most likely places for a fall. They also centralized the call center to provide world-class services for everyone using Lifeline.

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A perfect partnership

In 2006, Philips Lifeline was born when Royal Philips Electronics acquired Lifeline, expanding Philips’ presence in the global home healthcare market. This development also allowed Lifeline to continue to grow its market-leading service through Philips’ worldwide presence, technology, and innovation capabilities.

Continuous innovation

Since then, Lifeline call buttons have become lighter and more comfortable to wear, and the system’s performance and usefulness have rapidly progressed. By leveraging the latest wireless technology, HomeSafe and GoSafe systems allow seniors to call for help from any place in their homes or practically anywhere they travel. Lifeline’s AutoAlert, available with both our at-home and on-the-go services, features advanced automatic fall detection technology, adding another layer of protection.

Philips Lifeline has served over 7.5 million people and is the #1 medical alert device. Our passionate commitment to the Dibners’ original quest to help seniors live safe, independent lives continues as we explore new medical alert technology, at-home health solutions and population health management, while also pushing forward important initiatives, like collaborating in the AgingWell Hub, an innovative research and development program launched in 2015.

The AgingWell Hub

Through the evolution of Philips Lifeline, one thing has remained constant: our mission of helping older adults to live their lives independently with confidence. That’s why we recently joined with other leaders across multiple fields to launch a research center to identify technology, services and solutions that can improve the lives of older adults and their caregivers. Learn more at the AgingWell Hub or join the LinkedIn AgingWell Hub group.

Our timeline

1972: Andrew Dibner, Ph.D., pioneers wireless emergency alarm activated by a button

1974: Lifeline Systems, Inc. founded by Andrew and Susan Dibner.

1976: Dibner awarded patent for “Automatic Alarm System”

1980s:  Shift from hospitals providing call centers to centralized service

1983: Lifeline Systems goes public

2006: Philips acquires Lifeline Systems and product line renamed Philips Lifeline

2010: AutoAlert automatic fall detection technology introduced

2015: Collaborative group launches AgingWell Hub to research innovative solutions and services

Check out our new report on the impact chronic conditions may have on fall risk.

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