SUNITA MAHESHWARI – the woman who rewrote innovations in health-tech
Sunita Maheshwari who is 52 now, is a paediatric cardiologist, from Hyderabad, where she pursued MBBS at Osmania University. After that, she pursued post-graduation degree in gynaecology at AIIMS. Sunita didn’t stop here and went on to study Pediatric Cardiology at Yale University. She then returned to India with her husband, Arjun Kalyanpur, in the year 1999. She chose the city Bangalore for she found it beautiful to stay and it was a cosmopolitan cultured city too. But her husband, Arjun had couldn’t find a job there as he was overqualified being a radiologist trained in AIIMS. So he decided to continue there as a faculty member at Yale. He then found a job to work under an American company. At that time, India had too many BPOs and call centre, the concept of teleradiology did not exist in India.
So they decided to work together and establish a small company from home for their university. Sunita managed the company along with her full time job at Narayana Hrudayalaya. Today, TRS proves to be the largest teleradiology company set up in India.
It was in the year 2002, when they started and were connected with few hospitals in the Unites States. Soon, Singapore Health Ministry contacted TRS, And the deal with the National Healthcare Group of Singapore took about three years to materialise! At that time, TRS grew from $1,00,000 company to $1 million company. They were a billion dollar company and helped to set up Singapore’s first teleradiology.
But Sunita and Arjun were interested to establish their service in India. Today, TRS works with among hospitals in 60 rural areas – including Chattisgarh, UP, Kashmir, etc. They also serve in US Africa and Middle East too, internationally!
Even though a hospital had a radiologist, he/she were available 24 hours for any diagnosis. They were structured in a way that the radiologists could report from multiple places. And now they have radiologists in US, India, and Israel working under their platform. “It is an efficient tech delivering healthcare” says Sunita. They also provide online tests and reviews for ensuring quality control with intensive training.
Their idea was to use technology for successfully educating doctors and to help patients in rural areas of India and other parts of the world. TRS partnered with Diplomate of National Board (DNB) and trained about 800 PG medical students in Radiology through teleteaching in India.
Sunita sees the sector growing potentially in the last 10 years. They won some government tenders and will announce it soon said Sunita. She was awarded as 2014’s ‘Amazing Indian’ by Times Now, followed by ‘Young Clinician Award’ by the American Heart Association and the ‘Best Teacher Award’ at Yale University. She was also nominated in the category of Top 20 women achievers in medicine (India) in 2009 and got featured in the book ‘India’s Most Powerful Women’ in the year 2016. Her most prestigious experience was meeting American President, Barack Obama in the year 2010. “He is very down to earth, easy to talk to. My learning from him was that however high you get, stay grounded,” she says.
Sunita said that her biggest achievement is persistence and added that it them 7-8 years for working with the government of India. Private sector is often looked with suspicion but they clarified that there is no agenda and just really wished to help. That’s one of the reasons why she and Arjun came back to India.
Teleradiology Solutions (TRS), is a 16-year-old health tech company which she co-founded with her husband. Sunita identifies herself as a dreamer at TRS.
She is an inspirational revolution in herself. And her doctor-turned-healthcare entrepreneurship happened by accident, she added! Her prior interest was in medicine, and she turned as an entrepreneur with her husband’s partnership.