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Health and Medicine

Digital platform streamlines response to opioid overdoses

Pharmacy school’s Eshelman Innovation will launch a pilot project in Carteret County.

Exterior image of red-bricked Eshelman building in daylight.
(Photo courtesy of Eshelman School of Pharmancy)

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. The platform, dubbed Goldie, is a case management tool for community paramedics and peer support specialists serving these patients. 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, Eshleman Innovation’s executive director.

Intervening in the 24 to 72 hours after an overdose can significantly improve outcomes because overdose survivors are often receptive to treatment. 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 show engagement, overdose reduction and decreased emergency medical services calls. Goldie uses Amazon Web Services, including support from its startups and public sector teams and cloud infrastructure services.

“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 Goldie CEO 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, which provide 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 use paper and spreadsheets to manage their work. With Goldie, these community paramedics and peer support specialists can help more patients break the cycle of opioid use disorder.

After launching their response team in August 2023, Carteret County will be one of the first locations 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 response team 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.

The Eshelman Innovation Venture Studio teamed up with High Alpha Innovation and the Mountain Area Health Education Center Goldie to pitch the idea of Goldie in February 2023 as a digital solution to combat opioid use disorder. After Goldie’s selection to move forward as a start-up, they created their prototype for development in October 2023 and plan to launch the pilot by June 2024.

A grant from the North Carolina Collaboratory at UNC-Chapel Hill, using appropriations received from the North Carolina General Assembly Opioid Abatement Fund, funded Goldie.

“Our mission is to fund research- and technology-related projects that positively impact the people of North Carolina,” said Jeff Warren, executive director of the Collaboratory. “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.”