Diabetes is a problem that many people have to face every day. That also includes the needles and medicines that are needed daily.
When Catherine (KK) Patton was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes during her pregnancy, she had to face a situation that may have looked bleak at the time but would eventually inspire her to create a product and start a business that would open up a whole new option for diabetics everywhere. This option would remove the need to insert a needle multiple times a day without having to carry around an insulin pump. This product would become the i-port.
Much like the pump, someone only has to poke themselves with a needle once every 3 days to attach the i-port. That will insert the tiny catheter of the i-port into their body, but unlike the pump this option is no where near as bulky. When a diabetic would need another dose of insulin all they would have to do is inject it into the device while completely eliminating the need to insert another needle into their body.
Not only is KK an inspiring mompreneur, she is a woman who has been able to take on the world of medicine and create a product that has been able to make the life of a diabetic as normal as possible.
How much time and planning went into the design of your i-port?
Coming up with the idea was the easy part, but we needed to design something that would work well and that people would want to use regularly. I founded the company in 2004, and three years later i-port® came to market.
What kind of process did it go through before you came up with your finalized product?
During the three years prior to i-port coming to market, we worked with a number of design and development groups and identified a manufacturing partner who had outstanding experience in bringing devices to market. We initiated clinical trials to test the i-port, and got a great response from the patient population.
What makes your product different from anything else on the market?
There are no other products like i-port being marketed currently. As a result, there was a substantial medical need that was not being met.
What knowledge were you able to bring with you into the process?
As a person with Type 1 Diabetes, I know first hand what it feels like to deal with the hassle or discomfort of daily injections. Standard injection therapy can be unnecessarily intrusive, physically and emotionally taxing. I wanted something that would let me focus on living my life instead of dealing with the challenges associated with the next shot. I brought my own personal experience to the table in developing the i-port.
Was there a resource that has helped you more than anything else? What was it and how did it help?
I am a mother and a person with diabetes, and unfortunately did not have the business background I needed to start this company. Still, I knew my idea had potential, so I enlisted the help of a number of healthcare, financial and general business advisors to work with me on bringing this device to the public.
Do you have any advice for any potential entrepreneurs, much like yourself, that might be reading this?
I think the best advice is if you have something you truly believe in, don’t be afraid to take the risk. Many people told me that I was crazy to pursue developing this product, but I was unwilling to take no for an answer. I knew that it was something that would benefit so many. It can be overwhelming at times, but the reward is definitely worth the struggle.
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