MPWHIT Spotlight: Marion Ball applying HIT to the point of care

One of HDM’s Most Powerful Women in Healthcare IT, she’s guided industry through her research and writing.

Health Data Management recently announced the honorees in its program to recognize the Most Powerful Women in Healthcare IT. All will be recognized at our event May 17 in Boston. Leading up to that event, HDM editors are highlighting some of the honorees—today, we feature Marion Ball, who is senior advisor for healthcare informatics for the IBM Center for Computational Health.

Marion Ball

Title: Senior Advisor for Healthcare Informatics

Organization: IBM Center for Computational Health

Years in HIT: 35

Previous responsibilities:

Senior Advisor, Research Industry Specialist, Healthcare Informatics, IBM Research; Senior Advisor, Healthcare Informatics, IBM; University of Maryland Baltimore County, 2011-Present, Affiliate Professor, Information Systems Department; Senior Advisor, Healthcare and Life Sciences Institute, IBM Research; Fellow, Center for Healthcare Management, IBM Research.

Current job responsibilities: Ball leads international collaboration at IBM to develop point-of-care and work- force initiatives to improve healthcare. She is an innovator, educator, change agent and consultant.

Significant achievements:

Ball has written and edited 27 books and more than 200 journal publications and book chapters. Among her latest published books are "Health Information Management Systems: Cases, Strategies, and Solutions "(4th Edition), published in 2015 and the second edition of "The History of Medical Informatics In the United States,” published in 2016.

She is a member of the Institute of Medicine (IOM) and serves on the National Library of Medicine’s Board of Regents. She is a founding board member of the Health on the Net (HON), and she has served on the American Medical Informatics Association (AMIA) Board, in addition to serving as president of the International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA).

Ball has twice served on the board of the College of Health Information Management Executives (CHIME). In 2004, she was elected to the Health Information Management Systems Society (HIMSS) Board, where she served for three years.

Impact on HIT:

Ball has received numerous academic, national and international awards for her contributions to the field of health informatics. She is the recipient of such coveted awards as the Morris F. Collen Lifetime Achievement Award from ACMI/ AMIA, the Award of Excellence—a lifetime achievement award from International Medical Informatics Association (IMIA), and the Distinguished Service Award from AHIMA. HIMSS named Ball as one of the 50 most influential IT professionals over the last 50 years.

Ball is currently professor emerita for Johns Hopkins University School of Nursing and affiliate professor at the Division of Health Sciences Informatics at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine.


A lover of math, and from a family of healthcare providers, Ball says at a young age, she realized first-hand how data could improve outcomes. Her first job was to help install an early-computerized clinical lab system at the University of Kentucky in the 1960s. “It helped me realize that there are tools that can make things more efficient and helpful for all healthcare providers.” Ball says she saw that “there are benefits from using technology in a productive way.”

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