If we only knew enough about the lives and health of enough people, we could derive all the information we’d need to know to predict and prevent many diseases, and to improve treatments and outcomes. That’s the promise of Big Data, and many people subscribe to this vision. The problem is, where will we get all this data? We’ve already mentioned Verily’s “Project Baseline,” which is being run by a division of Alphabet, the parent company of Google.
The National Institutes of Health (NIH) has its own data collection program underway. The “All of Us” campaign has the ambitious goal of enrolling 1 million participants in a longitudinal study of health, lifestyle, and environment. The data will be made available to qualified researchers who are investigating a range of health-related topics. The program has entered its beta testing phase, which will eventually include 10,000 participants across the country. They are starting with a single testing site, and will expand to 100 sites nationally. This slow ramp up is designed to make sure that all the systems operate as intended before the data collection starts in earnest. The major roll-out is expected for the end of this year or early 2018.
The program is open to adults over 18 throughout the U.S. If you’re interested in volunteering, you can click on this link to find out more details.