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Meet Ranjeeta Vinil, a healthcare entrepreneur who helps patients deal better with chronic illness and treatment. Her experience with breast cancer catalysed her entrepreneurial journey.
Winner of the Fogsi Best Women Entrepreneur award for 2014, Ranjeeta Vinil, Founder and Director of Saarathi Healthcare, is aglow with the honour. After a successful career in the pharmaceutical industry, Ranjeeta found that Patient Relationship Management was a need gap in the industry – and set out to meet that need through her company, Saarathi Healthcare.
Today, Saarathi partners with healthcare professionals and the pharmaceutical industry, and aspires to be a guide and counsellor to patients, so that they can deal effectively with their disease and lead a better life. It is the result of Ranjeeta’s passion and more importantly, her compassion. Today, it is a 350 employee strong company, with offices in India and abroad.
Ranjeeta will be sharing her secrets of success with Saarathi at our upcoming event in Mumbai, Breaking Barriers to Growth: The Money Edition. Join us to learn how to break the Money barrier to growth!
Ranjeeta says that she translates her energy to her business and runs her company as a family. Even though she considers her life and career a miraculous story, the hero of her story remains her son Vivin. This entrepreneur and proud mother who loves to parasail is also a breast cancer survivor.
Starting your own company must have been exciting – tell us more about your story.
Ranjeeta Vinil: We started operating from a single 150 square feet shanty close to VT in Mumbai, but our clients had full faith on our capability to deliver. It was just the passion and a handful of faithful employees that kept me going at that time.
As Head of Patient Relations at Sanofi Aventis, I was working closely with a lot of patients. It made me realize that the success of a treatment is not solely dependent on drugs but on various other aspects such as diet, exercise, and the psycho-social connect.
As life would have it, I was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2006! Belonging to a pharmaceutical background, although I was aware of all the medical aspects of the disease – treatment, doctors and surgeons – it was still sudden and shocking. That said, the journey was extremely challenging – to pass through the steps of cancer treatment entailing surgery, chemotherapy, and finally radiotherapy. It takes a toll on you, both physically and emotionally.
At the same time, it really got me thinking about the plight of all those patients who do not receive timely assistance during their treatment. It became the turning point in my life where I was able to realize what I really wanted to do…
The most important thing was the support of family and close friends through the journey. At the same time, it really got me thinking about the plight of all those patients who do not receive timely assistance during their treatment. It became the turning point in my life where I was able to realize what I really wanted to do – that was when I conceptualized Saarathi.
Why did you name your venture Saarathi?
Ranjeeta Vinil: Sri Krishna charioted and guided Arjuna to eventually win the war, as a friend, guide and philosopher. We are here to make a difference to people’s lives positively by being a support system for patients with chronic illness like cancer and diabetes.
From working in marketing to starting your own venture, how did you make the transition?
Ranjeeta Vinil: Being in Pharmaceutical marketing, I believed in going beyond selling drugs by adding more value to patients’ lives, especially in chronic disease areas. Looking at my interest in Patient Relations /Care management (PRM), the Director at Sanofi Aventis, Dr Sandeep Bhattacharya, who was also my mentor in the company, chose me to head the Division.
This was followed by a stint with The Medicine Shoppe as Vice President – Marketing in 2006 – 2007. I evolved innovative marketing strategies for the company and expanded the business through new verticals like Patient Relations and Special Promotions. I moved on from Medicine Shoppe and initially worked as a consultant to a few healthcare companies before I started Saarathi Healthcare Services.
Life is full of mysterious surprises. You are just not aware of what event will act as a catalyst and turn around your life completely.
Throughout my treatment for cancer, I gradually learnt that not only are medical infrastructure, medicines, doctors and facilities essential, but also the psychological support, motivation, understanding of the disease and its management. are of equal significance. This was almost non-existent. That was the seed of Saarathi Healthcare.
How does Saarathi aspire and work to help patients?
Ranjeeta Vinil: We are a 360 degree patient management company focusing on he wellness of people combating chronic and critical illnesses. We believe in walking the extra mile for our customers to bring a smile on their face.
We are a patient centric company and towards this end we facilitate a symbiotic relationship between the doctors, patients and the pharmaceutical and healthcare companies. Saarathi understands patient needs to increase the focus on Chronic Therapy Compliance for patient well-being and satisfaction.
Which project at Saarathi are you most proud of?
Our most fulfilling project till date would be Sambhav. We have been running several Disease Management Projects and Doctors Education programs. Sambhav works for awareness, disease management and provides loans for needy patients with Hepatitis C. Our efforts for Sambhav won us the Oppi award for marketing excellence. Close to 300 plus paramedic staff are on the field serving patients. We have recently started operating in Asia Pacific countries as well.
Ranjeeta Vinil believes that, “As an Entrepreneur if you love what you do, it keeps you going.” From dealing with breast cancer in her own life, she has moved beyond to touching others’ lives, and believes that this opportunity keeps her motivated and happy.’
This is the story of one woman’s dream, born out of strife, but not chained by it.
Pic provided by Ranjeeta Vinil
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