Interview with Dr. Vinay Goel, Promoter Director & Chairman,
Lifecare Diagnostic & Research Centre Pvt Ltd.
Interviewed By: Sandeep Kshatriya, Facilitator, The CEO Insights
The CEO Insights: Your experiences with LifeCare Medical Centre and how you got to where you are today?
Dr. Vinay Goel: It was my childhood dream to be a doctor, and start a set of services that could be of benefit to people at large. The inception of Lifecare in 1995 was a step towards fulfilling this dream. The concept of all modalities of diagnostics like pathology, radiology, sonography, cardiac imaging, etc under one roof was not present in Andheri west suburb, so this became our USP.
However, because of our high degree of ethics and commitment to good quality work, it took some time to be appreciated. So, the initial period was that of struggle. Fortunately, we were dealing with educated people who were well informed about the role of good quality in diagnostic work up— so more and more patients availed of our services, over a period of time. Then, there was no looking back.
We had started with a modest 800 square feet space, utilised wisely for every facility. Our centre, which became known for being patient friendly and providing personalised attention, gained quick popularity. Realising the need for more facilities and to accommodate more patients, we moved into a larger space of over 4,000 square feet in a nearby location. More imaging facilities like digital mammography; BMD, dental imaging etc were added.
Our Pathology department is functioning round-the-clock, the only of its kind in this area. Latest equipment got added hence adding to our test menu in a big way. Other specialities like dentistry, ENT, Opthalmology, etc were also added and gave us an edge. Our unique concept became instant hit with the medical fraternity and patients as it saved a lot of inconvenience of going from one place to another. Hence we decided to spread to other location. We thus opened our branches in Malad west, Versova, Juhu, Kandivali, etc.
Our pathology department grew at fast pace, turning into a referral laboratory with its own unique identity. We have many pathology laboratories and over 50 collection centres associated with us. The number is growing at fast pace. However, during this continuous growth and rapid changes, our focus always remained the same-- patient. Every change brought in was to give the best to patients.
The CEO Insights: Your views on Torch Panel Test, any specific precautions/test pregnant women you would advise and details about Well Woman Clinic?
Dr. Vinay Goel: Every pregnant woman needs that extra care for her own and the child’s wellbeing. A healthy foetus in healthy mother is the motto of any medical fraternity or health care personnel, hence tests like TORCH panel and many others are required to be done to rule out any infections etc in mother which can potentially harm the baby. We advice that as soon as pregnancy is known, one should consult a gynaec and do all necessary tests as recommended.
Realising the need of good woman care, Lifecare started a special well woman clinic to promote preventive care amongst women. This clinic has battery of tests, like all essential laboratory investigations and special tests like mammography to detect breast cancer, bone mineral density to check calcium in bones and its strength, pap smear for cervical cancer, dental check, ultrasound for uterus ovaries etc. Adding further to this, is the wellness part by offering consultation with dietician and nutritionist, dentist and a gynaecologist, who advice on how to lead a healthy life.
The CEO Insights: Would like to share your views about the offerings for Orthocare, bone clinic at Lifecare Medical Centre? Dr. Vinay Goel: Orthocare is another special clinic geared for taking care of bones. This was conceived, when I observed even young people getting fractures of bones on relatively small impacts. Vitamin D3 deficiency and consequently osteoporosis are well known in our country. This clinic offers essential blood tests like Vitamin D3, Calcium, phosphorous etc and BMD test by DEXA method to check calcium contents in bone and hence its strength. Later, a consultation with bone specialist is provided who guides as to how to take care of bones.
The CEO Insights: You have been panel members for various organizations like g Air India, Jet Airways, ABB, OM Kotak Mahindra, TATA AIG, Max New York, L.I.C, so any precautionary advice for working people?? Dr. Vinay Goel: We are associated with many corporates for various health check-ups and pre employment check-ups. Our research on this large database has shown increasing incidence of diabetes and hypertension amongst the young age group. This is very disturbing and we strongly advice to tackle this with lifestyle changes and do regular preventive checks.
The CEO Insights: How you manage other sub-centers at different location and provide same quality services? Dr. Vinay Goel: Every individual working in any of our centres has to follow our SOPs- set guidelines on patient care, quality check etc. There are a different set of supervisors to monitor the same. So, we can provide same quality services.
The CEO Insights: What are the key challenges for setting up a Diagnostic Laboratory and Research Centre?Dr. Vinay Goel: In cities like Mumbai, the first challenge is real estate, with skyrocketing price.The initial set up cost can be a major deterrent. Of course, then comes good quality equipment which too is very expensive. The recent challenge is skilled labour due to huge demand supply gap. Maintain good quality and patient service on a consistent basis is an ongoing challenge.
The CEO Insights: What is the biggest challenge of LifeCare Healthcare today, and what are you doing to address it? Dr. Vinay Goel: The challenge of scalability is what our priority is now. The demand of industry is to invest continuously in newer equipments, upgrade old and add new. Using our own reserves and finance from banking and non-banking sources is the strategy to address it.
The CEO Insights: You have been dynamic & progressive, reaching new heights every year, would you like to tell us about it? Dr. Vinay Goel: If one needs to grow, one has to be dynamic and to be progressive, one has to be innovative. Stagnation and complacency leads to downfall. Luckily, I am imbibed with both the qualities. New ideas and always thinking ahead are what help me reach new heights every year.
The CEO Insights: What are your future plans? How do you see your organisation evolving in the next five years? Dr. Vinay Goel: We plan to keep expand our pathology collection network and also open a slew of centres, nationally as well internationally. In years to come, we see Lifecare positioned in the first three in India both, in pathology and multi-diagnostic centres.
The CEO Insights: What are your views for Latest technology like Mobile Apps, SMS Reminder and Historical Online Record Access given to customers?Dr. Vinay Goel: All these new ways of connecting have made life much easier for patients and doctors. There is a kind of revolution in how the communication of reports happens now. Previously, patient had to physically collect reports, go to doctor and consult. Now, values can be sms’ed, emailed etc and reports can be viewed on website and also printed or stored as soft copy, if reqd. Urgent values can be communicated to doctors directly to help treatment start faster. Fixing, rescheduling or cancellation of appt can be done thru these modes. Patients’ complete medical history can be accessed online, thus helping physician to treat better.
The CEO Insights: Your association with organisations like Indian Radiological and Imaging Association (IRIA) and others which might have helped you?Dr. Vinay Goel: These organizations help in great way by organizing conferences and workshops on the latest in this field, helping all of us remain updated and hence helps in enhancing patient care.
The CEO Insights: What is your Favorite Book/Movie? Vinay Goel: l love reading all kinds of motivational books, but i was particularly impressed by "Rich Dad Poor Dad" by Robert Kiwosaki which inspires you to be an entrepreneur than just being a job seeker, undermining the importance of good grades in schools.
The CEO Insights: What are your hobbies?Dr. Vinay Goel: As i love travelling and enjoy nature, I make sure to find time for both during the year.
The CEO Insights: Who is your role model?Dr. Vinay Goel: My father, who started working at the age of 14 in tough conditions in a small town in Punjab. Having lost his father when he was only one year old, and educated only till high secondary, he managed to build a textile empire covering whole of North India and Mumbai. His hard works, philanthropy, discipline of life, selfless service to poor, love for animals and respect for all faiths of religion have influenced me deeply. He passed away few years back, but remains my guiding force and an inspiration forever .