Ellen Balka

Degrees / Designations 

Ph.D., Applied Science (Interdisciplinary), Simon Fraser University

Email Address 
Mailing Address 
828 W. 10th Ave Vancouver BC


Academic Appointment 
Other Areas of Research 
health information technology
health informatics
technology assessment

My work is concerned with technology assessment and design, implementation and use of information technology in the health sector. My team uses multiple research methods, including observing health sector staff while working in order to develop an in-depth understanding of how staff carry out their jobs, so that when new technologies are designed an implemented, they support, rather than impede staff work and the care patients receive.

I have served as principle investigator and co-investigator of numerous projects which have addressed topics such as gvernance of health system technology and patient safety, administrative computer systems, development of health indicators,  development of disease registries, handovers in patient care, automated drug dispensing machines, the development and use of health web sites, genomics and personalized medicine, telehealth, computerization of triage functions in the emergency department, and the design and development of adverse drug event reporting systems. As a principle investigator, I have held funds from CIHR, SSHRC, Health Canada, the Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research and Genome BC.

Current Projects 

2011-2012 Principal investigator, Genome B.C. Strategic Opportunities Fund (Competition #4)
Project title: Using Science, Technology, and Society Studies Research to Move Genomics Discoveries from Bench to Bedside: Identification of Data Integration and Socio-technical Issues Arising in Personalized Medicine & Translational Bioinformatics. ($108,238 from Genome BC, $35,000 cash from other sources in addition to in-kind).
2011-2014 Principal investigator, Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, Small Grants Program
Project title: The technology of art and the art of technology. ($106,000).

Recipient, Senior Scholar Award, Michael Smith Foundation for Health Research. (Health Services Adjudication Committee).
Project title: Health Innovation Design and Evaluation. ($100,000 / year for 5 years).