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Press Briefing Transcripts

CDC and CDC Foundation Media Telebriefing Release Final Report of Expert Panel

May 20, 2009, 2 p.m. ET

  • Audio recording (MP3) MP3 audio file

Operator: Welcome and thank you for standing by.  At this time, your lines have been placed on listen only until we open up for questions and answers.  Please be advised today's conference is being recorded.  If you have any objections, you may disconnect at this time.  I will now turn the conference over to Miss Lola Russell.  Please go ahead.

Lola Russell: Good afternoon.  My name is Lola Russell, as she said earlier, and I am with the CDC press office.  Today, the CDC and CDC Foundation will be holding a telebriefing on the release of the final report of the expert panel on the Advanced Automatic Collision Notification system.  We will now be introduced to the speakers who are on the line today by Shannon Easley, who is the Associate Vice-President for Communications for the CDC Foundation.

Shannon Easley: Good afternoon.  We have three speakers this afternoon.  They will be speaking in this order: Charles Stokes, who is President and CEO of the CDC Foundation, followed by Dr. Richard Hunt, Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's Division of Injury Response, and finally, Chet Huber, President of OnStar Corporation.  At this time, I will turn the program over to Charles Stokes.

Charles Stokes: First of all, thank you for joining us today.  I'm pleased to participate in today's briefing to announce the results of this innovative CDC Foundation partnership.  People are sometimes surprised when they see OnStar and GM Foundation listed as co-partners on a project.  They have not seen the link between automotive company and public health.  This project is really an illustration of the breadth of CDC’s work which spans everything from H1N1 flu to the prevention of auto-related injuries and fatalities.  At the CDC Foundation, we mirror CDC scientific diversity with a diversity of projects and partnerships.  For CDC, building alliances like this one with private sector partners is often critical to moving important work forward, especially when federal funds are not available to pursue innovative ideas like the one we're talking about today.  That's why the CDC Foundation exists.  We’re an independent, non-profit organization authorized by Congress to build partnerships between CDC and others to fight threats to health and safety.  In that role, we look for synergies between CDC and others in the private sector.  And then we work to facilitate and implement meaningful programs, like this one, to achieve common goals.  The expert panel that others will talk about today is a great example of our ability to connect CDC with necessary partners to reduce injuries, improve health and save lives.  Speaking for myself, I'm really excited about this project and the results of study.  I think it has the potential to revolutionize emergency care in this country.  I want to thank you for your time.  I'll now turn the program over to Dr. Rick Hunt, director of CDC's Division of Injury Response.

Richard Hunt: Good afternoon.  I, too, welcome all the participants on this call.  I'm Dr. Richard Hunt, the division director for the Division of Injury Response at CDC's Injury Center.  Our mission is to reduce injuries and save lives.  We do this by building solid research, to help improve emergency response, which can potentially impact the lives of millions of Americans each year.  The report that is being launched today focuses on using the potential of Advanced Automatic Collision Notification or AACN, to help with emergency triage of vehicle crash victims.  Using a collection of sensors, vehicle telemetry systems like AACN, are able to rapidly send critical information about a vehicle crash.  The report on AACN evolved out of a long standing CDC initiative to help improve field triage.  Field triage of the injured patient refers to treatment and transportation decisions made daily by EMS providers at the scene of an injury.  Past CDC-supported research found that field triage is vital, as severely injured patients who receive care at a Level I trauma center have a 25 percent decreased risk of death.   Again, a 25 percent decreased risk of death. With this in mind, CDC convened a multidisciplinary panel of experts, which included representatives from federal agencies, such as the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and HHS’s Health Resources and Services Administration, as well as leaders and experts from emergency medical services, emergency medicine, trauma surgery and vehicle and public safety. 
The key finding from the expert panel is that, very simply put, Advanced Automatic Collision Notification systems show promise in saving lives.  Essentially, the panel determined that AACN systems can help in two key ways.  The first is that AACN can help predict the severity of injuries.  This information is key for determining the resources and making field triage transportation decisions.  Secondly, AACN communication and vehicle locating or GPS capabilities can help decrease response time by EMS providers, which may be especially important in rural or isolated areas.  Based on these findings, the panel also put forth several recommendations including seatbelt use, should be included into current AACN response systems. Secondly, assessing the use of AACN to assist with early identification of patients with traumatic brain injury.  Next, establishment of real-time communication between all components of the trauma system.  Conducting studies to examine the use of the newly developed AACN protocol. And then, the development of a national system for data collection and analysis of data that can be integrated into current national injury data systems.  AACN is an example of how existing technology can be used to improve current systems for emergency care.  We will continue to build the scientific knowledge to help put life-saving tools in place.  And to this end, we at CDC are committed to using promising research to save lives and help all Americans live to their full potential.  The actual report, in its entirety, can be found at or by calling 1-800-CDC-INFO.  At this time, I'd like to turn it over for comments from Mr. Chet Huber, president of OnStar.

Chet Huber: Thanks, Dr. Hunt.  On behalf of General Motors and OnStar, I'd like to thank you for joining us on the phone today and the folks from the CDC Foundation for allowing us to participate in this briefing.  Back in 1996, General Motors had an idea that it could bring technology to bear that would literally transform at least the way our vehicles would be supportive and helpful in the most dramatic occasions we know of, that is a crash involving our vehicles.  We actually had our first crash response that year.  Fast forwarding to today, we have about 5.5 million OnStar equipped vehicles driving across the United States and Canada. We receive about 2,000 crash event indications a month.  We recently marked a milestone last November where we were the pre-first responder with the 100,000th crash scene using OnStar technology. Across that- over a decade timeframe, we have come to understand the unique capabilities that we started with, but more importantly the capabilities we could evolve to that could be more useful in responding to crashes and improving outcomes.  Actually, it was a conversation that I had with Dr. Hunt nearly a decade ago when we had first launched and were first getting indications out of vehicles that there had been a crash and the location of the crash, where he challenged me on behalf of the emergency medical community to take the next step and provide what became characterized as a digital crash signature out of the vehicle, so that it could be translated into this next level of care.  We took that on, and in 2004, in a Chevy Malibu, we launched our first incarnation of Automatic Advanced Crash Notification.  Over 50,000 of those 100,000 crash events since we started have now been able to use that technology and we're very proud to have been guided throughout by the great cooperation and care of folks from the emergency medical community, the first responders, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration and the CDC.  We're very encouraged by the results of the findings of this study. We’re proud to have played some small role in that. We are absolutely committed to work with the appropriate experts in this field, to continue to create and define the state-of-the-art in moving crash response technologies forward, to improve outcomes for everyone.  Thanks.  Those are my remarks.

Lola Russell: We will now take questions at this time.  Each reporter will be allowed to ask one question and one follow-up.  We'll take questions at this time.

Operator: Thank you.  At this time, if you would like to ask a question, please press star followed by 1 on your touch-tone phone to.  To withdraw your request, you may press star 2 to.  Ask a question, press star 1 on your touch-tone phone.  One moment please for the first question.  Our first question comes from Miranda Hitti, with WebMD, please go ahead.

Miranda Hitti: Hi.  Thanks for taking my call.  I just wanted to make sure that I'm looking at the right report here.  It's the Advanced Automatic Collision Notification and Triage of the Injured Patient report.  If I'm looking at the right thing, it says on here it has a 2008 date.

Richard Hunt: That's correct.  This is Richard Hunt with the Division of Injury Response.  The panel's deliberations were completed in 2008 and this is the time we've been able to actually physically launch those recommendations.

Lola Russell: Do you have a follow-up, Miranda? 

Miranda Hitti: What would you most want the general public to take away from this, at this point, as far as those recommendations and how it would affect them when they're on the road today?  Is this in play right now? 

Richard Hunt: Let me answer the first part of your question first.  Again, this is Dr. Hunt at CDC.  First of all, the findings of this multi-disciplinary expert panel really demonstrated, for the first time, that this -- these technologies, Advanced Automatic Collision Notification shows promise for helping to save lives.  And helping citizens live to their fullest potential.  And it's really about getting the right patient, to the right place, at the right time.  And indeed, some of these technologies are available at this time, and again, it shows promise for helping to save lives.

Chet Huber: This is Chet Huber from OnStar.  Maybe I can add to that.  Ninety-five percent of the vehicles we build with OnStar today, General Motors vehicles, have this sensor technology built in them and, in fact, 4 million of those vehicles are already on the road today.  What we are able to do today in advance of these protocols being established is to relay the information, in a more rudimentary way to 911 responding agency when a crash occurs.  Again, those are happening at the rate of about 2,000 times every month.  What this report does, and ultimately what it leads to in our view, at least, is the ability to more broadly interpret the information coming out of systems, such as OnStar’s, and make that information more naturally available as part of the protocols that are traditionally used by 911 responders to get full value from this service going forward.

Lola Russell: Thank you.  Next question, please.

Operator: If you would like ask a question, please press star followed by 1 on your touch-tone phone.  I'm showing no questions at this time.

Lola Russell: Okay.  We will now have some closing comments by Dr. Hunt and the other speakers, as they so desire.

Richard Hunt: I just want to thank -- this is Dr. Hunt at CDC, I want to thank the participants on the call and hopeful you will read the report in its entirety. Again, these technologies, we believe by the findings of the expert panel, that this shows promise for helping to save lives and having those citizens live to their fullest potential.  This indeed is a work in progress.  You're seeing a report of an expert panel, but there is much work to be done to continue to build the scientific foundation to have these technologies fulfil their potential to really save lives.  Again, it's about getting the right patient, to the right place, at the right time.

Lola Russell: Thank you.

Operator: That does conclude today's conference call. We thank you for your participation.  You may now disconnect your lines. 





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