What is Wareologie and what was the impetus for creating it?
I saw my stepfather struggling with the simple task of buttoning his shirts as Parkinson’s disease slowly reduced his movement. Throughout the progression of his illness, I saw firsthand the problems that millions of Americans with physical limitations face every day. I decided the best way to move forward with a new company was to go back to school and get my MBA, to gain the knowledge and tools to start the company. I completed my MBA from Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan, in 2018 and Wareologie was born three months later. It was a proud day when Wareologie became certified as a Women Business Enterprise National Council (WBNEC) business and acquired global customers.
Wareologie develops hardware to restore independence and empower people with physical challenges to age in place. Our company was founded in 2019 with support from the Michigan Small Business Development Center and Lawrence Technological University’s Centrepolis Accelerator.
Tell us more about the products Wareologie offers.
We are creating devices that improve access to physical rehabilitation and restore independence enabling self-care and home management tasks. The first product Wareologie created was Buttons 2 ButtonTM. The magnetic shirt button adaptors are an aid to help people dress independently.
A pivotal moment came in summer 2020 when the Wareologie team learned how many people were unable to receive rehabilitation due to widespread COVID-19 isolation precautions. A skilled nursing facility reported residents were suffering from immobility. In fact, millions of physical therapy appointments are missed annually for numerous reasons, including lack of access.
Delayed therapy or inadequate rehabilitation can lead to decreased function, longer recovery times, and medical complications. We knew there had to be a way to bring therapy equipment to patients when they couldn’t get to the therapy gym – and Portable Parallel Bars™ were born.
We heard about the recent debut of Wareologie’s Portable Parallel Bars™. Can you tell us more about this product?
Ninety million physical therapy sessions are missed annually from lack of access to treatment for patients in recovery, quarantine, or stuck at home. In addition, patient hospital falls and clinician injuries have created a healthcare crisis costing hospitals and providers $34 billion in patient falls and $6.2 billion in workers’ compensation claims each year. Clinicians administering therapy and transfers represent 54 percent of those claims. To address this issue, Wareologie has created a first-to-the-market new medical device for rehabilitation that addresses patient and clinician needs to improve efficiencies, early mobilization, and safety. Wareologie was awarded a contract by the Veterans Health Administration (VHA) Innovators Network Ecosystem and collaborated with clinicians at the VA Hunter Holmes McGuire Medical Center in Richmond, Virginia, to design foldable Portable Parallel BarsTM on wheels. The clinicians have been giving continual feedback to ensure optimal product performance and function to meet the demands of busy clinicians.
Portable Parallel Bars™ revolutionize physical therapy access by bringing the device to the patient’s bedside or home and enables them to stand confidently with less assistance from clinicians. Portable Parallel Bars™ is an FDA Registered device designed for amputee, acute care, stroke recovery, prosthetic, strengthening, hip fracture, knee replacement, and home healthcare patients.
Portable Parallel Bars™ folds in less than two minutes and has wheels for easy transport. It is durable and has the structural integrity to allow the patient to safely stand, balance, practice weight-bearing (up to 600 pounds) and take first recovery steps. The adjustable height and width of the bars accommodate pediatric and adult patients. This compact mobile device can be used and conveniently stored out of the way to maximize small spaces. The sleek design makes it easy to disinfect between uses.
There are no other Portable Parallel Bars™ that fold and have wheels, which gives Wareologie the first-to-market competitive advantage.
Who are your customers?
Our customers are the VHA, private hospital systems, home therapy providers, rehabilitation facilities, wholesalers, and durable medical equipment companies.
How did you get connected to MedHealth? What has MedHealth done to help your business?
I first learned about MedHealth through TechTown and our participation in OptimizeWayne. MedHealth has helped us connect us to several new organizations that could potentially support our business. I also participated in the MedHealth Summit, which was a conduit for great conversations with new and familiar faces.
What’s next for Wareologie in the months ahead? What are you working toward?
Our Portable Parallel Bars™ are in production in Michigan with the first order arriving mid-fall 2023. We are taking orders for our Portable Parallel Bars,™ currently in production. To expand our exposure, we are going to be exhibiting and speaking at major conferences throughout the winter of 2023.
What do you wish you knew when you were first starting that you know now?
I know entrepreneurship is not for the faint of heart. It takes tremendous hard work and hustle. From ideation to commercialization to marketing and fundraising, I live and breathe my company. I don’t think I was aware of the level of sacrifice to ensure we succeed. But since I believe I’ve found my purpose to help people, it makes it worth it.