Bank of knowledge
Posifon is proud to be the only Swedish supplier of GPS based mobile safety alarms and we offer services that are scientifically evaluated. Our services are developed in cooperation with users as well as with municipalities and we follow the existing ethical guidelines.
We want our customers to know that a lot of thought goes in to how our services are offered. This is to provide security and safety when choosing a system. At the bottom of this page you will find answers to frequently asked questions. If there is a study you would like to have a look at, a question you would like answered or if you would simply like to know more please do not hesitate to get in touch.
Research, reports and guidelines
Here you will find research reports, analyses and guidelines that have been created in cooperation with Posifon.
Socioeconomic cost-benefits when introducing welfare technology – Posifon
In connection with the research study done in 2011-2012 by the University of Borås, the Governmental institute requested dr Åke Dahlberg, previously manager for parliamentary accountants, to research the financial effects of using Posifon’s services.
The conclusion of these analyses was::
- The services provided by Posifon are economically viable from a municipal point of view after 3,5 months of use, and the excess in 3 years is approximately sek 36 000. For every SEK invested, 3,5 sek is returned within a three year period.
- The services provided by Posifon are economically viable from a society point of view after 4 months of use, and the excess in 3 years is approximately sek 53 000. For every SEK invested, 3,1 sek is returned within a three year period.
- he reported revenues are most likely on the low side. First of all, the assumptions made have been made carefully when looking at quantifying the positive effects. Further, a relatively high discount rate has been applied. The most important reason is that a number of positive effects were not possible to quantify. These are effects such as increased quality of life for the user and an increased sense of safety for family and friends. Other factors include a decrease of the services performed by so called “home help”, for example fewer visits based on so called silent alarms.
“The overall assessment of Posifon and its services is therefore that it is highly viable from a socioeconomic point of view…”
Scientific research study – beneficial effects with GPS alarms
The university of Borås did during 2011-2012 complete a research study called “Evaluating the beneficial effects of mobile safety alarms for people with dementia, their family and society”. Participants from 26 different municipalities used the GPS based alarm from Posifon as part of the study. The purpose was to identify the benficial effects of using a GPS alarm and to investigate the ethical aspects which occur when the alarm is used. The study was performed with financial support from the Alzheimers fund and from the governmental institute of Technical aid for the elderly.
The conclusion of the study confirms the beneficial effects experienced by Posifon’s customers:
- Mobile safety alarms leads to an improved quality of life, discharge for friends and family as well as for care personal.
- The effort made and the risks that occur in connection with a person disappearing are significantly reduced.
- Consequently, the possibility of an extended regular living situation is increased.
- Family and friends describe a reduced sense of stress and worry as the key beneficial aspects.
- Society makes up for the cost of the mobile safety alarms in less than four months which means that the cost does not pose an obstacle for the user to rely on Posifon’s alarm service.
- Taking into consideration the current legislations and comments from users and their family or friends, there are no ethical aspects standing in the way for the usage of a GPS based mobile safety alarm.
This report were later translated into English, you can read it here: Extended safety and support systems for people with dementia living at home
Ethical guidelines for using a GPS alarm
These ethical guidelines are created as a result of the research study called “Evaluating the beneficial effects of mobile safety alarms for people with dementia, their family and society” made during 2011-2012 by the college of Borås in Sweden. The guidelines has since then been updated by Lars Sandman, professor in care ethics, during May 2015 based on suggestions from representatives from municipalities and suppliers.
First the term. In conjunction with the study, the term used was mobile safety alarms for a GPS- and GSM based safety function that can be carried anywhere there is a phone signal. It is a small custom built that gives the opportunity to transfer a safe position of where you are when the alarm is used and it also gives family or friends the opportunity to track where the person carrying the unit is based. Since the the term has been confused with the type of stationary safety alarm with a GSM connection. For this reason the suggestion was made to change to GPS alram or Localisation technology, which is the term used in Norway. In this documentthe term being used is GPS alarm.
Background and the study
The university of Borås completed a research study during 2011 and 2012, that was later interantionally published in the Journal of Assistive Technology. The study was performed with financial support from the Alzheimers fund and from the Swedish governmental institute of Technical aid for the elderly. The purpose of the study was to evaluate the beneficial effects of the use of GPS alarms for people with dementia, their family or friends and for society. The study was mainly focused on people in ordinary living situations and the ethical aspects of using the alarm. The ethical standing point is a balance between independence, safety and integrity. These guidelines were created as initial guidance and were later updated as a result of the study. Both during the study and in conjunction with the update in 2015, the guidelines have been verified by a number of staff working in participating municipalities.
Even if during May and June 2015 there were no clear national stance regarding the usage of GPS alarms there was a lot of work taking place in different places regarding the matter.
Here we have taken into consideration the statements made from the Swedish Social Board as well as the work done locally and regionally in the counties involved. To give an example, the city of Västerås has created a “Västerås model” which gives interesting perspectives for how the usage of welfare technology can be motivated and handled.
We would like to encourage a dialogue regarding these matters. Everyone is welcome to leave feedback regarding the guidelines or share them as they are generic and can be used in conjunction with any GPS alarm, regardless if the user is in an ordinary living situation or in residential care.
An important starting point when using a GPS alarm is the user being able to move and live freely as well as family or friends feeling that user is safe. The alarm does pose as a certain amount of violation of privacy and integrity but it needs to be measured against the improvement of the users independence and safety.
In most cases, it is more violating for a person’s integrity when care personal or family or friends limits the freedom to move than for the same people to be able to, when needed, see the location of the user by using the GPS system.
A GPS alarm does not need to be seen as a measure of limitation, but as a creator of freedom and it provides the opportunity for the user to be part of- and interact with society.
The introducing of the GPS alarm can be seen as a reaction to the so called “locking in effect” that some of the permanently fixed GPS alarms can lead to.
To not have the freedom to step outside and go where you like can feel violating and create irritation and uneasiness. To always be in need of company when outdoors is also a violation of the personal freedom.
The aim of the study was to show that the use of the GPS alarm leads to an increased sense of safety as well as a number of other positive effects when used to be active outdoors.
Self-determination and individualisation
The municipality and/or the caregiver should whenever possible make sure to receive a written consent from the user of the alarm as well as from the family or friends that are connected to the service. This should then be seen as valid until other arrangements are agreed upon.
In many cases, the user may not fully understand completely what the alarm is and what it does and he or she may also forget giving consent to its usage. So the consent made in writing is only to be seen as guidance and if the user in one way or another communicates that he or she does not wish to keep carrying the alarm, there is no legal support for the alarm to be kept in use.
An important factor in these cases is the fact that the user can simply breach his or her consent by taking off the alarm if it feels like a violation or if it feels uncomfortable in any way. To be able to freely put on and take off the alarm is the basis of the clearest form of consent for using the alarm.
As long as the mobile unit can be removed it is fair to say that family or friends and care personal should provide assistance for the user when deciding how the alarm should be worn in order to disturb the user as little as possible.
An individual fitting of the alarm services with the user present to choose what services will be used and how, should take place. It is very important to accept the users opinions and wishes regarding what they may or may not feel comfortable with.
The user and their family or friends should in all situations be able to receive information regarding how the alarms are set up and request changes. The possibility to easily change the settings of the alarm service is therefore vital. It should be possible for changes to be made straight away if the user requests it or if the needs of the alarm has changed.
The user should in cooperation with family or friends be able to choose an individual solution for receiving alarms and for the protocol for when the alarm is used. It provides a stronger sense of security and is less of a violation of the personal integrity if it is a person known to the user that calls/answers the alarm call to make sure that everything is alright and checks if assistance is needed. The same goes for who it is that finds and helps the user when the alarm has been used.
Surveillance using GPS
People living in a certain type of residential care are under constant surveillance from care personal. There is not even a possibility to leave one’s room without it being monitored. And it is certainly not possible to go outside and take a walk on one’s own.
This constant state of surveillance is in legion and is accepted by society so that the resident is not being put at risc. Even so, it can still feel like a violation of the personal integrity and create a feeling of irritation and uneasiness.
When spending time outdoors, the Swedish Social board says that constant surveillance using GPS is not acceptable. We agree. Even if positioning functions such as GPS is available, it is not reasonable that a carer continually can see the exact position of a caretaker and his or hers daily whereabouts.
A safety area service should be designed for a GPS position to be made available only when the user is leaving a predetermined are. Technically speaking, this means that the mobile unit must determine the GPS position on a regular basis to calculate if the user is outside or within this area, but these positions are not to be made visible for anyone unless an alarm operator/family member actively chooses to view the position of the user by activating this function. This makes it impossible for the alarm to be used as constant surveillance and also for abuse from unauthorised people without it being logged in the system.
There is always a possibility to search for the user’s location via the alarm reception system. However, you should always try calling the safety mobile phone and try to establish contact with the user before searching for the position of the user. To put it simply, it is nicer to receive a phone call from someone asking how you are and what you are doing.
However, when dealing with people with certain types of diagnostics, this main rule may not be possible.
It is reasonable for an organisation offering care, to be able to offer an increased sense of safety and a more independent way of living, by being able to track a person’s whereabouts if the person in question has previously given their consent for this and chosen to wear the GPS alarm when stepping outside. If the care personal discovers that a person has left his or hers home or predetermined area for a longer period of time, without giving prior notice, the care personal or family or friends should have the right to perform a one-time- or regular tracking of the users whereabouts to determine if he or she is on their way home or moving away from the predetermined area. This is done to increase the users sense of freedom as well as being prepared if the user needs help getting home.
To prevent abuse all actions like this should be registered in a logbook in the system.
It is important that it has been made clear what responsibility the carer has for receiving an alarm and for the actions following.
To introduce limitations of a geographical area and of times when a carer is present when the alarm is in use, should only be accepted if the user may use the alarm and its functions during other times as well, and that it has been made what type of support is available at these times.
The municipalities must conform to the law regarding personal information (PuL) that demands registration of personal data in only one data registry. Carers should sign a contract with the supplier regarding how personal data should be handled in the, specific for the service, built data system that handles users personal information and user data. Complete records and data regarding the user should not be saved in the system.
Simple to use
To enable the possible positive effects of using a GPS alarm, it should be easy for the user to alarm or to contact family or friends. It should be easy to operate the alarm.
The alarm should not primarily be a surveillance unit for carers and for family or friends. It should primarily be a possibility for the user to have a more active life.
If you would like a pdf of these guidelines in English, please contact us.
Frequently Asked Questions
In this section you can read frequently asked questions and answers to them. Please feel free to contact us if you have a question that is not presented in this section.
What type of technique does Posifon use to provide its services?
The services provided by Posifon are made possible by the use of two different technical systems, GPS, GLONASS and GSM/3G/4G mobile network. Thanks to the use of GPS and GLONASS, it is possible to get very exact locations outdoors anywhere in the world, and by using the mobile phone network, communication can take place wirelessly at most places in Sweden, and abroad if necessary. Some of our unit also have the option of using the mobile phone network, Bluetooth or WiFi techology to provide a faster establishing of location in case of thunder or cloudy weather or when the user is indoors. The positioning will not be as exact as when using GPS or GLONASS but it is an excellent complement.
Why do I need a subscription?
We have received requests about “buying out” the mobile unit instead of signing up for a subscription. We understand why this question is asked but everytime we come to the conclusion that the customer will not benefit from this. Let us explain why, as there are many reasons.
If you have come to the conclusion that there is a need for a GPS based personal alarm/safety alarm, you should reflect over the following before starting to use it:
• When purchasing our mobile phone, an additional subscription fee will inevitably be added to gain access to the internet based alarm portal and the ability to use the alarm services that are based in this portal. Even when you purchase a unit, the subscription fee will still be added.
• With the subscription you get a mobile phone subscription that guarantees the user to always be able to make a phone call or to alarm. We have a large selection of subscriptions available which also means that we have really good prices. Your mobile subscription will become more expensive should you choose not to buy a sim-card to gain access to the mobile phone network. It may appear cheaper but at the same time you run the risk of running out of money on the sim card when you really need it.
• The safety mobile phone is constructed to have a high resistance to water, high security and to be easy to use, which among other things means that the SIM-card is built in underneath the shell of the phone. The mobile unit is thus not designed for the user to put a sim-card in the phone or for a prepaid sim-card to be used as this may need to be tested in another phone first.
• It is important that you as a user can rely on the technique to always be working and that it provides the safety and security you desire. In the subscriptions provided by Posifon there is a guaranty of function included, which means that if a problem occurs that can not be solved in any other way, we will provide a new unit at no extra cost. This is to make sure that the process is simple and advantageous for you as a customer.
• Should you experience technical issues or if your needs are changed, you deserve assistance as quickly as possible. Therefore, support is included in the subscription to help you get started and to answer any questions you may have.
• The subscription and the guaranty of function also means that you as a customer gets access to the most up to date service available. You will receive current updates with new and improved functions without any additional costs instead of having to make a new purchase.
• A subscription is not locked to a particular individual. For example, within elderly care, the care personnel are free to change the user of the safety phone and Posifon’s support will be glad to assist you with changing the settings to fit the new user.
The conclusions made by us and hopefully by our customers, is that the value of feeling safe and to live as worry free as possible, is worth paying for. To do this in the shape of a subscription will benefit you.
How does communication work with Posifon’s different units?
The safety solutions provided by Posifon are based on all communication taking place through the mobile phone network. In Sweden there are a number of different networks built in various types of standards (GSM, 3G and recently 4G). To maximise the availability of the safety service, the customer will be asked to choose the network with the best coverage for the area where he or she spends the most time. Posifon will not be able to guarantee that you always have a mobile phone signal wherever you are, which is a limitation when using the mobile phone network. This means that you will not be able to make a phone call or alarm just anywhere. Thanks to the mobile phone network constantly being expanded, the availability is improved every year. We also offer roaming SIM-cards from other contries, this way we enable the device to select the network operator with the best signal strenth.
How does a GPS work?
The exact positioning is made available using satellites that is a relatively young technique that are now being used within a number of ares. Navigation, target search and positioning being among the most common.
The GPS system are based on 31 active satellites that are in orbit around the Earth. They provide the opportunity to use a GPS receiver to determine positions (latitude, longitude, altitude), regardless of the weather, day and night and anywhere in the world.
To determine an exact position, direct contact with four satellites is required. Even using three satellites it is possible to determine a very accurate positioning, provided that the signal do not bounce on a wall or similar on the way. If the alarm unit can not establish a connection with three satellites, a positioning can not be given. This is the reason for the difficulty to establishing a positioning indoors. This is the reason why some of our devices also has WiFi or Bluetooth location to improve quality of the locations indoor.