OnStar’s First Assist gets EMD accreditation

(April 17, 2013) SALT LAKE CITY — Helping deliver a baby is not listed in an OnStar advisor’s job description, but within the past year an emergency advisor has helped coach a woman through labor, while others administered CPR instruction to a young child and instructed how to stop excessive bleeding — all while the caller waited for help to arrive.

These services are part of OnStar First Assist, which allows specially trained OnStar emergency advisors, certified by the International Academies of Emergency Dispatch, to provide Emergency Medical Dispatch services to drivers and passengers waiting for first responders to arrive.

OnStar today becomes the first non-emergency service, private company to be recognized by IAED as a Medical Accredited Center of Excellence. OnStar met the association’s 20 points of Accreditation requirements and was cited for its high level of compliance with the Medical Priority Dispatch System, a medically approved standardized protocol that determines the urgency of a medical emergency and guides advisors to provide medical instructions in many incidents before first responders arrive.

Of the 2,780 agencies that use dispatch system’s protocol — most of which are 911 call centers — only 4.25 percent have achieved accreditation like OnStar.

“This Accreditation puts OnStar in rare company,” said Terry Inch, chief operating officer, General Motors Global Connected Consumer. “The fact that our emergency advisors are able to offer instructions that meet the rigorous standards set by the IAED is a testament to how seriously we take this responsibility to help our customers and how hard these advisors work.”

OnStar’s First Assist service, which began in 2010, is used approximately 1,200 times every month, for everything from treating a diabetic shock, providing airway obstruction relief and even helping treat a poisonous snake bite.

“EMD (Advisors) use protocols, they’re trained to use protocols, they live in a time-restrictive environment and you have to do it right the first time,” said Dr. Jeff Clawson, inventor of MPDS. “The idea of what OnStar is doing is something I would consider a no-brainer. The first person that has access to the patient can make a big difference.”

The MPDS is the world’s most widely used standardized medical call-taking and dispatch life-support protocol system, serving more than 600 million people worldwide. It is credited with saving tens of thousands of lives every year. Accreditation requires thorough MPDS compliance and certification for all emergency call-takers providing EMD services.

“The quicker that someone receives help after an incident, the better chance they have of recovery,” said Cathy Bishop, global emergency manager, OnStar. “We recognize how busy 911 call centers are, and in the spirit of cooperation, if we can absorb some of their burden and offer this service, then everyone benefits.”

Over the past 17 years, OnStar’s emergency advisors have responded to nearly 2 million emergency service calls and have directed numerous first responders to crash and other emergency scenes.

“No other car company is delivering this kind of on-scene, emergency medical dispatch,” said Bishop. “In many cases, before the car has come to a complete stop during a crash, we’re connected and giving assistance.”

OnStar advisors who seek to be emergency advisors are extensively trained. This process includes holding an exemplary OnStar track record, weeks of internal OnStar Emergency courses, CPR certification, IAED certification and more.

In 2012, OnStar’s First Assist service received a Gold Edison Award for best new Personal Safety/Security service.