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New Health Tech Platform to Help Fight the Opioid Crisis

Logo for Goldie that consists of a hexagon shape with a plus sign in the center

Eshelman Innovation, within the UNC Eshelman School of Pharmacy, is set to launch a new health tech platform aimed at serving patients with opioid use disorder (OUD). The platform, dubbed Goldie, is a case management tool for community paramedics and peer support specialists serving patients with OUD. Eshelman Innovation has chosen coastal Carteret County to be one of the first locations to pilot Goldie.  

“We are excited to pilot our Goldie digital health solution in Carteret County. We believe the county represents the patient needs well of those suffering with opioid use disorder in Eastern North Carolina,” said John Bamforth, Ph.D., executive director of EII.  

For individuals with OUD, intervening in the golden window 24-72 hours after an overdose can significantly improve outcomes. Patients are also more receptive to treatment after a non-fatal overdose. Goldie provides an effective method for field personnel to track patients and encounters, capture signed consent forms, coordinate with social service organizations to help with social determinants of health needs, apply clinical protocols and much more. Built-in reporting is designed to demonstrate engagement, overdose reduction and decreased EMS calls.  

“I’m looking for the pilot to prove that Goldie makes the work of the peer support specialists and community paramedics easier and more efficient so they can serve more patients. I hope that Carteret County is so delighted with Goldie that they become a reference site for other counties,” said Entrepreneur in Residence, Matthew Hanis. “Our vision for Goldie is not just for OUD. We view this as a first use case to prove our product and then quickly scale to other mobile integrated healthcare services.” 

Some communities, like Carteret County, have funded Post Overdose Response Teams (PORT), which provide post-overdose care that is compassionate, evidence-based and effective. Goldie transforms their work by automating manual documentation and tasks, producing evidence of results and providing a method for them to collaborate across counties. Currently, most teams are using paper and spreadsheets to manage their work. With Goldie, these community paramedics and peer support specialists can help more patients break the OUD cycle. 

After launching their PORT in August 2023, Carteret County is excited for the opportunity to be one of the first to use Goldie. As a pilot site, they will be intimately involved in the development process to make sure the software works well for their PORT staff and patients.  

“The collection and communication of information in real time is vital to helping people, both for those being helped and those helping them in the field. We greatly appreciate the work being done at UNC to meet our biggest health care need here in Carteret County,” said Dr. Randall Williams, consolidated human services director for Carteret County.  

Goldie was an idea pitched in February when EII’s Eshelman Innovation Venture Studio teamed up with High Alpha Innovation and the Mountain Area Health Education Center to develop digital solutions to combat OUD. The project was selected to move forward as a start-up, and in October they created their prototype for development in order to launch this pilot by June 2024.  

Goldie is leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS) including support from the AWS Startups and Public Sector teams and AWS cloud infrastructure services. 

Funding for Goldie was provided by a grant from the North Carolina Collaboratory at UNC-Chapel Hill utilizing appropriations received from the North Carolina General Assembly Opioid Abatement Fund. 

“Our mission is to fund research- and technology-related projects that positively impact the people of North Carolina,” said Collaboratory Executive Director Dr. Jeff Warren. “When considering how to invest our opioid settlement funds provided by the North Carolina General Assembly, we were keen on direct-touch opportunities for intervention to assist people in overcoming the opioid crisis, and Goldie does precisely that.”

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