We often hear that Big Data will usher in an era of precision medicine and predictive analytics. But for precision medicine and predictive analytics to become mainstream, we need an infrastructure that connects the massive number of digital breadcrumbs—Big Data—generated by individual patients over their lifetimes. Although current clinical registries do not contain Big Data, we expect that as registries expand to become more population based and capture increasingly more granular and longitudinal data, the explosion in health care data will offer unique opportunities to improve health care outcomes. There are now >80 clinical registries listed in the National Quality Registry Network. Unfortunately, the depressing reality is that we have yet to harness the power of existing Small Data because most clinical registries exist in stand-alone silos that are not connected to one another.
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