Profile: Dr. Jillienne Touchette

Profile: Dr. Jillienne Touchette
Parvathy Hariharan

 

How do two companies with different skills but one shared vision — to empower the dynamic growth of medical communication — work together? We asked Dr. Jillienne Touchette, the new Chief Executive Officer of Superior Medical Experts (SME), her goals for SME’s growing academic and grantwriting services in 2020 and their partnership with Nested Knowledge.

After completing her postdoctoral research, Touchette became SME’s first writing director in April 2018, through which she grew the company’s total revenue by more than 100% before becoming CEO in January 2020. As a postdoctoral researcher, Touchette realized that research writing was her most enjoyable task and reached out to Keith Kallmes, board member and former CEO, after reading an article about SME on Rochester Rising. The rest is history. “It’s been a great fit for everyone,” she says with a smile.

Both companies are built around a recognition that physician researchers are inundated with primary articles, but have very limited resources to combine and analyze studies in context. SME’s clients approach them with writing projects, many requiring major literature reviews. SME’s experienced writers step in to help with all aspects of the research process, from statistics to medical writing to literature interpretation and discussion. However, since so much of research is based on completing literature reviews, Nested Knowledge provides vital software and research support that expands SME’s ability to complete large, complex literature reviews.

“Depending on the process and how complex it is, the process takes about three to four weeks to write up a big meta-analysis,” Touchette says. “But from SME’s side, it takes almost 90% less time as our team doesn’t have to handle the literature review. So, for us, it’s been a blessing.” Teaming up with Nested Knowledge also means that the SME team can now work on multiple meta-analyses and manuscripts faster at the same time in addition to building the capacity to do more intelligent work on newer topics, she says.

Touchette, as a veteran of SME’s early days, witnessed the origins of Nested Knowledge as a start-up, from an idea to a founding team with their own goals and objectives through to its launch of its first software platform in February 2019. “When I first started, Nested Knowledge did not exist, so the best tool for literature reviews was literally Excel. Now if I have a question, I can just log in and click around to obtain comprehensive data with references to include in my writing. This is exciting,” she says. Touchette sees the relationship between the partners continuing to evolve, with SME doing more regulatory projects and clinical literature review updates, while Nested Knowledge expanding its foundation of information to provide larger and more diverse reviews. “The possibilities are endless depending on what our clients tell us that they want and need.”

In 2020, SME looks forward to a productive year with many new clients and newer projects from existing clients who love their quality and speed of work. Touchette estimates that some challenges will lie in scaling her research team to meet a fast-growing influx of projects. SME has grown over 80% year-over-year every year since its founding, and word-of-mouth continues to be its most powerful marketing. “I’m coming in at a really exciting time because we are growing like crazy with our clients continuing to spread positive things about us, and our writers have become more independent and knowledgeable than ever before,” she says. “2020 is going to be a big year both for SME and Nested Knowledge.”