A telehealth solution for serving AIDS patients in the COVID-19 era

Left to right: Continuud’s Success Director, Micaylah Rose; CEO Richard Walsh; CXO Nathan Walsh

Even in the best of times, people living with HIV/AIDS face a host of health and socioeconomic challenges. The COVID-19 pandemic has only worsened those problems due to the closures of both the clinics run by AIDS service organizations (ASOs) and the public libraries low-income patients rely on for internet access.

Indianapolis-based startup Continuud is stepping into the gap with a tablet-based telehealth solution ASOs can use to keep patients and care coordinators connected. Flyover Future spoke with CEO Richard Walsh and CXO Nathan Walsh about Continuud.

What can AIDS patients do through telehealth?

Richard Walsh: You can’t do a lot of the medical side through telehealth. However, every other piece of that you can. You can still get your mental-health services through telehealth; you can still get your care coordination through telehealth. And with a smart implementation of it you can even do your Ryan White certification in a HIPAA-secure way (this certification unlocks federal funding to pay for care and support services).

Why do you provide tablets with unlimited 4G LTE data?

Nathan Walsh: There are populations that don’t have access to technology. A lot of the patients for these organizations will use their local library’s Wi-Fi, which isn’t going to be that fast and isn’t really going to be able to support video calling. But that’s all they have. And obviously, they can’t even get to that right now.

Why did you get into this niche market?

Richard Walsh: I’m actually HIV positive, and Nathan is negative. So we’ve seen this from both the prevention and engagement perspectives. When I was diagnosed, we were living way out in Greencastle, which is a small town about 45 minutes west of Indianapolis, and getting to Indianapolis for care on a regular basis at the time was cost prohibitive. We know the barriers because we’ve been there. And we also know what technology can do to tear those down.

We go into this knowing that we don’t necessarily have the solution, but we have the ability to create solutions. And so we listen. We are regularly invested and take part in community discussions. We serve on committees and action panels, and we really just take the time to be involved and really understand the core issues. We are not health leaders, but we are innovative founders with the passion, skills and knowledge necessary to create technology to support existing workflows and enhance them.

Why start Continuud in Indianapolis?

Nathan Walsh: We live here. And we believe making our community around us better instead of trying to find where this would sell the best.

Richard Walsh: We’ve looked at opportunities that would take us elsewhere; we’ve looked at incubators and accelerators that would require us to move to the Bay Area or Minnesota or other places like that. And although the opportunities can be great, we have decided that we’re not going to take advantage of that type of programming, because it will pull us away from our community. And I think that being here, especially with our core team being here and with our bulk of our clients being here, is a critical piece of how our organization grows.