Wareologie, a Michigan-based medical device company, is making waves in the healthcare industry with its groundbreaking advancements in mobile and at-home caregiving. Led by innovative founder Gina Adams, the company has pioneered a range of innovative products that are transforming the lives of patients and caregivers alike.
With products such as the revolutionary Buttons 2 Button Magnetic Adapter Set and Portable Parallel Bars for physical therapy, Wareologie’s efforts to redefine the landscape of accessible and convenient healthcare solutions don’t go unnoticed easily. The company is quickly becoming a trailblazer in the field of assistive technology.
One Detroit Producer Will Glover, host of One Detroit’s Future of Work series, met up with Adams at the Centrepolis Accelerator, where Wareologie began as a startup, to talk about the inspiration behind her products and the process of getting them to market.
They talk about the inspiration she’s found from her parents’ struggles as they aged, the difficulty of creating a commercial product, the resources the state could provide to help startups, and the importance of keeping the company in Michigan to promote job growth in the state.
Will Glover, @WillofMichigan: After my future work conversation with Dan Radomski, the founder of Michigan’s only manufactured product incubator, Centrepolis Accelerator. I wanted to talk to a company they had worked with in health care, because this is a sector that will need to grow its workforce and innovate to meet the needs of a large and aging Michigan population. So Dan suggested I talk to Gina Adams, CEO of Wareologie, who’s an innovator in the healthcare space who first found success with buttons 2 button magnetic adapter. A no-cell solution for converting shirt buttons into magnetic closures. What was the initial inspiration behind buttons 2 button? Where did this idea come from?
Gina Adams, Founder & CEO, Wareologie: Thank you for asking. My stepfather was struggling with Parkinson’s and there’s a ripple effect on caregivers such as my mom. And so it’s not only that physical impact, but the emotional toll it takes when you have somebody as, you know, my stepfather was a Ph.D. engineer. And so, to lose any sense of independence, he was our rock of the family. And so, to take one activity that he could regain and do independently, that eally impacts a person’s emotional well-being. That’s really the impetus behind it.
Will Glover: With the success of Buttons 2 Button, Gina has introduced another product, portable parallel bars for physical therapy, a mobile therapy solution on wheels that delivers physical therapy treatment safely. But getting it into the hands of the people who need it the most poses challenges that, if addressed, could give other Michigan healthcare product companies an edge in the global healthcare market. Do you think that there’s something that can be done there to make the on-ramp to getting a product manufactured for a small company easier?
Gina Adams: You know, we’re in what they call the valley, right? You have the idea. You have to put a lot of money into that to get it through the development phase, the prototype phase. And then when you move into commercialization, everything takes on a whole new, I would say, cost.
Will Glover: Right. Yeah.
Gina Adams: So, you know what the state could provide for us, I believe, is a little more access to that runway of how do you get your product commercialized and into the market. You can’t do it alone. The windows are pretty tight because of the networks. I’ve been to the doctor over eight times, getting all of my vaccines, like hepatitis and typhoid and all of these things so that I could actually walk into a hospital and service the hospital as a vendor. So there’s a lot of these hoops that I feel while they are there and the protocols are important because you need safety in place, but for medical devices, we’re really trying to revolutionize people’s health. It would be great if there was an incubator that kind of supported that.
Will Glover: Something to help navigate the process overall?
Gina Adams: Yeah. Yeah. I mean, I was at a conference and we’re there with large global medical wholesale suppliers and, you know, getting a foot in the door is not always easy.
Will Glover: As you’re going through this journey, as you’re developing these products, as you’re building this company, you’ve stayed here in Michigan.
Gina Adams: Well, we’re based here in southeast Michigan and have incredible access to world-class manufacturing. And there’s no better place to develop a product, in my opinion. The opportunity to create jobs here in our home state is really important to us. And because we are committed to helping people with disabilities, we are excited to also partner with not only our manufacturers but down to the people that kit our products.
So the first product buttons 2 button actually kitted by people with disabilities as a form of job creation. It’s great to have the opportunity to collaborate directly with your manufacturers so that we are building together. There’s a lot of lessons learned along the way, and to take a product from a prototype that’s 3D printed into a commercialized product is a huge leap. And so, working here with incredible manufacturers has really helped expedite the process, versus, I can’t imagine the cost of going overseas. Whether they’re in a bed or they’re in a wheelchair and standing up, now you have something that is structurally…..
Will Glover: In the next five years. What do you hope for the future of work at your company?
Gina Adams: You know, the next five years are going to be so exciting because we know that we have sales verticals within the V.A. We have hospitals that have given us the thumbs up. They have use for it. It’s a matter of going through those protocols. If we can help people get standing sooner and safer, we’re going to be in a great spot.
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