VA Collaborates with Wareologie™ to Bring Portable Parallel Bars to Veterans; Leveraging Easy-to-Transport Rehabilitation Equipment for Veterans’ Physical Therapy Needs

Wareologie Veterans Affairs Article

VA is one of the single largest employers of physical therapists in the United States, employing over 2,300 across the Nation. These physical therapists provide care to over 750,000 Veterans each year, addressing needs that often require large spaces and specialized equipment, such as parallel bars. Parallel bars play a critical role in the treatment of postsurgery patients and amputees, making easy and broad access essential to patient recovery. They are used extensively for walking rehabilitation, gait training, and for building lower body strength, balance, range of motion, and flexibility. However, traditional parallel bars are large, bulky pieces of stationary equipment that remain in physical therapy gyms, which create a barrier for Veterans with limited access to the gym. In 2020, VHA Innovation Ecosystem and Challenge America co-sponsored a COVID-19 Maker Challenge to source solutions to challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

One proposed solution was a novel set of portable parallel bars designed to provide access to rehabilitation equipment for Veteran patients in isolation. This led to a collaboration between VHA Innovators Network (iNET), VA providers, the Central Virginia VA Health Care System (CVHCS), and Wareologie through the iNET Greenhouse Initiative. The goal of the collaboration was to co-design, develop, and test the prototype with VA clinical subject matter experts (SME). Physical and occupational therapists from the Richmond, Cleveland, and Asheville VA medical centers worked with Wareologie to further iterate upon the original design to co-create a clinically useful design considering the physical rehabilitation needs of Veterans. iNET collaborated with Wareologie to create two prototypes. 

The first functional prototype was piloted by the physical therapy department at CVHCS in September 2021. Wareologie modified the device directly based on the feedback and design recommendations from Richmond VA providers and created a second prototype which was piloted again by the physical therapy department at CVHCS in February 2022. Wareologie utilized the Richmond team’s input to further advance the design and moved forward with commercialization. Designed with experience and the needs of the Veteran in mind, Wareologie Portable Parallel Bars improve accessibility in acute care, inpatient, and rural outpatient settings. With quick folding and rolling capabilities, the parallel bars can be transported from clinic to clinic or room to room easily. “The ability to safely mobilize complex, acutely deconditioned patients at the bedside is an area that has needed attention for some time. These parallel bars open doors not only in this area, but also for our community-based outpatient clinics vying for square footage, our amputee clinics who provide consultation throughout the hospital and community, and beyond,” said Shannon Parker, a physical therapist and Clinical Innovation Specialist at CVHCS. Today, the Portable Parallel Bars are a Class 1 Food and Drug Administrationregistered device available throughout VA medical centers for Veterans via the VA Intrapreneurial Product Marketplace and With VAIPM questions, email

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