As the daughter of a cardiologist, it was expected that Meghna would follow in his footsteps, but from the very beginning, she knew she didn’t want to become a doctor. The mere sight of blood would make her faint.
However, the subject of health fascinated her. She was interested in the functioning of hospitals, doctor-patient interactions, and micro-level behaviours affecting national health.
Deviating from medicine and health, Meghna took up Economics at the London School of Economics. While pursuing her second MSc Economics degree, she was introduced to health economics, and she was intrigued by the vast possibilities it had to offer She topped this up with a PhD programme at the Faculty of Management, University of Delhi which she wishes to complete in the future.
As part of her research in health economics, Meghna stumbled upon various issues in the healthcare system. This prompted her to start blogging about them.
From blogging to an online news portal
Meghna, 31, found a void in information portals for medical professionals that delivered comprehensive and latest information for the medical field. In April 2015, she converted her blog into an online magazine for medical professionals.
“Noticing my father who spent a lot of time sifting through newspapers, magazines, journals, and the internet for information, I realised that there was composite place, which aggregates and provides all medical updates in one place. On the other hand, my husband after reading his daily newspaper would immediately surf a few specific “legal news portals” to get his daily dose of the B-2-B industry updates.”
She realised there was similar scope in the medical sector and with the help of her father and husband started Medical Dialogues, an online medical news portal “that would provide medical and healthcare updates to ease the quest of doctors in their search for knowledge.”
A look of the Medical Dialogues news portal
Leading the pack
Meghna says that Medical Dialogues had “very humble beginnings in the form of a Wordpress blog.”
Today, Medical Dialogues is a leading medical news aggregator that sees an enviable traffic of two million users every month and has a subscriber base of 4 lakh.
Beginning as a go-to portal for medical news, Meghna expanded operations to include three other verticals. Speciality Medical Dialogues covers 22 medical specialities; Business Medical Dialogues covers the business side of medicine with updates from pharma, financial ventures in industry, etc. and Education Medical Dialogues functions as a one-stop place for current and aspiring medical students for information about exams, colleges, and more.
The three verticals in Medical Dialogues.
The highs and lows
With an initial investment from her family, Meghna runs the bootstrapped company from New Delhi.
She says that her entrepreneurial journey, “like most, has been pretty much like a hurdle race with a series of milestones.” The progress has been steady, from one lakh to one million and the present traffic that stands at two million unique visitors a month.
She says her journey has been more about struggles than accomplishments. She believes life was simpler when she was just teaching, but now as an entrepreneur, she has to bear the responsibility of her work, and that of her 18 member team.
Meghna with the team of Medical Dialogues.
What happens when she hits the lows? She drives herself to work more and achieve more.
“I have gone through many lows, during this journey, and they still continue, as our journey is still a work-in-progress. If you ask me about one instance, I don’t remember or think I want to remember as each low is part of the journey in achieving something. I normally work 11-12 hours a day and on the day I am low, I make it a point to work for an hour extra.”
As a woman entrepreneur, she believes her challenges are the same as that of any other entrepreneur who believes in an idea and is working hard to give it shape.
“I guess lack of knowledge about certain issues has been a challenge. Also, since I come from a non-tech background, I have had to face challenges when it came to technical or marketing issues that demanded practical solutions,” she adds.
The only way around these roadblocks, Meghna feels is to learn new skills to help navigate better as she moves forward in her entrepreneurial journey.
Meghna has recently introduced two allied services on the platform - Medical Jobs and Medical Matrimony to help medical professionals find jobs and spouses, making the process easier for them as they tend to be very busy.
After creating verticals to cater to doctors, students and other medical professionals, she now plans to include a vertical for nurses who also play a pivotal role in patient care. She will also be launching an app for the platform in the coming months.
She says, “Our main motive at Medical Dialogues is to inform, enlighten and empower the physician (and other medical practitioners) to enable them to perform better when it comes to patient care.”
(Edited by Rekha Balakrishnan)