Has anyone heard the latest batch of OnStar ads to hit the airwaves? I hear them infrequently on AM radio here in Calgary, Alberta, but the latest one that I heard yesterday kind of ticked me off.
The gist of it is, a caller to OnStar reports she has been stung by a bee and doesn't have her medication with her. She wants to know where the nearest hospital is. The OnStar rep tells her that so-and-so medical center is "approximately 14 miles away" and he'll stay with her while she drives there so he can tell her where to turn at the junctions!
If this is the policy of OnStar - to allow injured people to drive themselves to medical facilities, when the OnStar rep doesn't know if the hospital may be on diversion or otherwise inappropriate - instead of connecting the caller to local EMS so they can respond to the scene and provide advanced emergency care immediately and on the way to the appropriate hospital - then I think OnStar is being quite irresponsible.
Anyone else have any opinions on this service, their ads, etc.? I think the concept overall is great, but the execution is flawed. I've heard some horror stories and some great success stories from other dispatchers about how OnStar has been to them.
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Thread: OnStar ads?
05-08-2003, 01:36 PM #1
- Join Date
- Sep 1999
- On the way to the station. Really. It's 12 kilometers away and there's traffic.
05-08-2003, 09:07 PM #2
I haven't heard that particular OnStar ad but I'm getting sick of all their ads. A couple of them I've heard, direct the spouse to the scene of an accident. We already have too many bystanders and lookyloos around and they want to add a distraught family member. BTW, OnStar sent us 7 miles out to a remote location when the actual incident was within a mile of our station. Obviously they're not perfect!?
05-09-2003, 12:10 PM #3
They don't give a crapola what is the right thing to do. They want money. To do that, they need subscribers. To get them, they need a dramatic commercial that shows what it can do. It is more dramatic to have the car lead you to the hospital than just sit there and say "Help is on the way".Even the burger-flippers at McDonald's probably have some McWackers.
05-09-2003, 01:28 PM #4
So I gather that if the air bags deploy you don't want On-Star to notify the authorities but have the patients wait for someone to drive by with a cell phone and call it in?
If it wasn't worth it companies like Johnson & Johnson wouldn't be installing it in all the company cars either.
It's like rap music. If you don't like it you don't have to buy it, but don't knock it if you don't understand it.
As far as guiding the driver to the hospital, you don't know "crapola" about the situation, where she was, what time of day, whether she was closer to the hospital than to any medic service. And as far as the "hospital being on diversion", you're reading too much into the situation. A hospital may turn medic units away but they will never turn away a drive up.
On-Star has been proven to save lives. Lives of those who choose to subscribe to it. If you don't want to, then don't.
PS: If you're ever at an accident scene where the vehicle has On-Star and the air bags have been deployed, you're hearing voices in your head. It's not really On-Star calling the driver to see if they are okay.
05-09-2003, 04:15 PM #5
- Join Date
- Sep 1999
- On the way to the station. Really. It's 12 kilometers away and there's traffic.
Looks like you missed this part of my message..
I think the concept overall is great, (...) [ I've heard some ] great success stories from other dispatchers about how OnStar has been to them.
As far as hospitals "never turning away a drive-up", they may not turn them away, but they may wait a long, long time. In my area, the health authority just released the details of a study that said in one major city the average wait time for walk-in patients is 3.5 hours, and in the other city, it's seven hours. As an emergency responder, I know that if I show up, even to a diverted hospital, my patient will at least be triaged promptly. However, people who just walk into the emergency rooms are guaranteed a very long wait. But that is another long and messy story.
I know for certain if we as emergency dispatchers chose to tell a patient to drive themselves to the hospital, they would deteriorate on the way there and crash and wipe out a family in a minivan, and we would at the least, get sued. I'm more interested in getting the patient the right help as quickly as possible, myself. The appropriate response is to dispatch an ambulance to the location of the car. The last I heard, OnStar reps did not have emergency medical dispatch training and don't have access to whether or not she was closer to a hospital than she was to a medic unit. They should leave that element of rendering care to those who are professionals in that particular field. As a dispatcher, from my console, I can direct the ambulance, fire first responders, or any other emergency services to her. I can evaluate her condition and provide "pre-arrival" assistance if needed. And I can ensure the right amount of care gets to her at the right time. As a responder, I can get there quickly and safely, and begin providing emergency care as soon as I make patient contact. In the event her condition deteriorates on the way to the hospital, I can do things to counteract that. Someone who's driving themselves to the hospital in a questionable state of health has none of this to back them up.
And if you want to hear my personal experience with OnStar, here it is. I completely accept and understand it's only one experience out of the thousands they must get per day, but since you, dragonfyre, seem to be implying that OnStar can do no wrong, check this out.
A couple of summers ago a group of teenagers were driving home from a campground near here, in a late model Oldsmobile. They all gathered in this one car since the other one had broken down at the campsite. There were a total of seven people in the car - two in the front seat, three in the back seat, and two riding in the trunk.
For whatever reason, the driver lost control on a two-lane rural highway and crossed directly into the path of a 5-ton tow truck. Despite the efforts of the tow truck driver to avoid the collision, he hit the car head-on at highway speeds.
Six of the people in the car were killed instantly. One of the two people in the trunk was ejected and somehow survived with critical injuries despite being thrown at least a hundred feet from the vehicle.
Emergency responders arrived from 15 miles away upon receipt of the call from the tow truck company, who got the radio call from their driver immediately after he picked himself up off the floor of his truck. The responders triaged and identified the conditions of all the patients, assessed and packaged the survivor, and sent him on his way via the air ambulance. (Total elapsed time, about 30 minutes.)
At that point, OnStar phoned the fire dispatch center's non-emergency line to report a "minor wreck with airbag deployment somewhere up there in Alberta Canada". The information provided matched the Oldsmobile in the multiple-fatal collision. OnStar reported that there was "one young girl with a headache in the car".
There were no other MVAs in the area that day, and none in the entire southern half of the province that involved a similar Oldsmobile.
As I said, this was my only exposure to OnStar so far. I have seen many great success stories as well, but - well, quite frankly, don't try to tell me they're perfect and that no one has a right to criticize them.
05-09-2003, 08:50 PM #6
I didn't say the On-Star was all knowing and all wise. I said that it is, as you did, an idea whose time has come.
I am sure that there are some short comings but I'm also sure that the good has out numbered the bad.
As the network grows they keep adding new centers and are up to 3 now. One of the original call centers is and was in Canada. Maybe it might be in the public, and our, best interest to maintain contact with the center and offer help and training if there is one close to you.
05-10-2003, 11:49 AM #7
We have had some major problems with On-Star. They call and want us to do a rendevous with a car. Most of the time they don't know exactly where the car is and they don't have a lot of information about the problem. It would be a lot easier if they would just transfer the call to us, so we can get the information that we need.
They have also told us conflicting information as to where the person is.
05-11-2003, 06:25 PM #8
I understand it perfectly, therefore I'll knock it. We've also had problems, on occasion, with OnStar where they refused to give pertinent info we needed to identify the car and/or occupants. However, other times they have been reliable to a degree. We recently had employees of a new call center company, similar to OnStar, come sit in our center for a week to observe how we handle calls. They were also in the process of learning how to give EMD instructions to their subscribers. And there rose new concerns. We asked them if they would be able to connect a caller in with us over the phone when they got a call. They said no. We asked why they were giving EMD instead of giving the call to us and letting the professionals do it? The answer? Refer to previous question and answer. So now we have created a middleman.
When I give it [the overall situtation] some thought I'd much rather them get those calls then PSAPS directly from car radios. Because obviously injured parties may not be able to call 911 from their cell phone IF they even have a cell phone. Plus we might be getting hammered in the 911 center and won't have the time or manpower to deal with those types of incoming direct communications. So better them then us. On the oher sid of the token, they shouldn't start up these kinds of companies until they have worked out the technologies involved. They should have the capability to transfer the calls to us. They should check with their legal department to make sure they can give us ALL info asked for by the 911 centers to provide the best care possible to the patient. Or include in their contract a permission slip or waiver so the subscriber knows that their personal and vehicle info will be given outr in situations like this.
On a personal note I would NEVER subscribe to a service like this. I live in the 2nd largest city in the state of Illinois and I'll rely on me or the hundreds to thousands of people driving by with their cell phones to report it. Which being in the profession I'm in, know for a fact, will call 911 to inform someone of the accident that just took place. However if I lived in a rural area, I might think about it...
And lets not forget we were listening to a 30 second ad, not the whole call...Who knows what we didn't hear...
Last edited by MrJim911; 05-11-2003 at 06:31 PM.
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