Neil Seeman bio
Neil Seeman, B.A. (Queen’s), J.D. (Toronto), M.P.H. (Harvard)
Neil Seeman has 20 years of experience in health care Web technology, data analysis, and communications. Neil was one of four founding editorial board members of the National Post newspaper from its launch in Oct. 1998 by Hollinger Inc. until its sale to Canwest. He then raised funds in Sept. 2001 to found and lead the Canadian Statistical Assessment Service (later merged with the Centre for Risk and Regulation), acquired in Oct. 2003 by The Fraser Institute, Canada’s leading free-market think tank. In 2003, he remained a Senior Fellow of The Fraser Institute and joined the Univ. of Toronto Medical School (Dept. of Health Policy, Management and Evaluation), to become project coordinator for the Hospital Report Research Collaborative “system integration and change” team, North America’s largest hospital performance evaluation initiative with 40 University-based researchers, and the first to apply dynamic Web-based performance and comparative reporting, for over 150 hospitals. After the Canadian Institute for Health Information acquired these reporting tools, Neil joined IBM in Oct. 2006, where he led its Canadian research and consulting in social technologies in healthcare (‘health 2.0’) for clients across Canada. In Oct. 2008, Neil raised funds from the Ontario government to found the Health Strategy Innovation Cell, which he brought to Massey College in the Univ. of Toronto. As CEO of the Innovation Cell and Senior Resident in health innovation at Massey College, Neil led a growing team of researchers to conduct globally recognized research and Web products in the ‘real-time Web’ – methods to capture self-reported Web data to improve health system accountability and disease management, with an early focus on pandemic surveillance and drug safety surveillance. Neil ‘spun off’ the Innovation Cell to become independent of all government funding in Nov. 2011, forming partnerships and funding and in-kind support from The Change Foundation, the Health Council of Canada, IBM, Women’s College Hospital, Healthy Minds Canada, the Canadian Health Services Research Foundation, and other NGOs and philanthropists. Clients for the Innovation Cell include Fortune 100 companies, governments, and hospitals. Among the Innovation Cell’s accomplishments include the first online best practices portal for social media in health care (in partnership with the Centre for Addiction and Mental Health and Providence Healthcare); four books, including a practice guide to the use of social media in nursing; the Global Accelerator Award, given to initiatives that Web analytics reveal to be improving patient care; and the ‘spin-off’ of myhealthcareinnovation.com, a company (in partnership with Medtronic, HTX, the Ontario Hospital Association and Jive) that offers healthcare workers a private social network to share best practices in quality improvement.
Neil has authored over 800 essays, editorials, and over 25 peer-reviewed journal articles. His research publications have appeared in a wide variety of journals, including Healthcare Papers, Synapse, the Journal of Affective Disorders, the Journal of Addiction and Mental Health, Policy Options, the Canadian Medical Association Journal, the Journal of Participatory Medicine, Healthcare Management Review, Healthcare Quarterly, and Electronic Healthcare. He is co-author of four academic health policy books, most recently, XXL: Obesity and the Limits of Shame (University of Toronto Press, 2011) -- named as a finalist for the 2011/2012 Donner Book Prize for the best book on public policy by a Canadian -- which is now required reading in courses at Harvard and other Universities. His ideas have been profiled in The Economist, the Washington Post, Business Week, CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, the Globe and Mail and other major media. He has been on faculty at Ryerson University since 2003. He is a strategic investor and advisor in Web technologies, having been a seed investor in J2 Communications (NASDAQ: JCOM) and now an advisor to RecapHealth Ventures, a private equity firm. Neil’s non-profit work includes serving on the board of the Canadian Obesity Network, advising the W. Galen Weston Foundation, and leading partnerships for healthydebate.ca at the Li Ka Shing Knowledge Institute of St. Michael’s Hospital. Neil is a regular contributor to the The Huffington Post, the Globe and Mail, the Financial Post, and Longwoods Publishing and is a speaker at healthcare events around the world. Neil has been in the Who’s Who (Univ. of Toronto) since 2002 and has been identified by "Allan Gregg in Conversation" as among "the world's foremost thinkers on social, cultural, political and economic issues." In a November 2011 profile, "Nexus", a University of Toronto law school alumni publication, described Neil as "the University of Toronto’s latest ‘McLuhanesque’ savant."
The emergence of The RIWI randomized data engine
In 2009, Neil’s research team at the Innovation Cell experimented with his business methods patent (TimeTrender™), filed in 2006, for capturing real-time Web information. The Health System Strategy Division of the Ontario government commissioned five TimeTrender™-based reports from Neil’s team, including: an evaluation of real-time perceptions of the safety of the H1N1 vaccine after Health Canada approved the vaccine; a real-time evaluation of the safety of the Measles, Mumps and Rubella Vaccine after the Lancet retracted the fraudulent Wakefield et. al study on the link between the vaccine and autism; real-time perceptions of the changing power of social media to address unmet needs in care-giving for the chronically ill; the willingness of Canadians to help the chronically ill without being paid; and different country-by-country perceptions of the proper role of government in fighting the obesity epidemic. All five of these studies were subsequently published in leading peer-reviewed journals and books and shared with public health officials and politicians in Canada and the United States.
Learning of Neil’s work in the real-time Web and the application of his “random URL address input error” software, Neil was invited to speak to non-healthcare audiences interested in learning about the power of his patent, later fully accepted as a business methods patent by the USPTO in August, 2011 and valid until July 2, 2030. For example, the Canada India Business Council commissioned a study by the newly formed RIWI Corporation, to which the patent was assigned, evaluating Indians’ perceptions of Canadian business practices and innovations. National security agencies and governments then approached Neil, with one national government agency commissioning research on security and intelligence applications of RIWI. Neil and his brother Bob have raised seed angel investor capital and assembled a multi-disciplinary team of leading-edge researchers, entrepreneurs and Internet engineers to build The RIWI Corporation into the world’s only patented, truly randomized data engine to guide senior decision-makers in all sectors of the economy.
Neil is now the Founder and the CEO of The RIWI Corporation.