The enormous amount of DNA sequencing, biomedical imaging, electronic health records and other data generated by researchers and clinicians holds great promise for healthcare. However, gaining access to this mountain of data and making sense of it remains an elusive goal.

Earlier this month, National Institutes of Health Director Francis Collins, M.D., wrote a blog touting the potential benefits of big data, calling this enormous, ever-expanding treasure trove of digital data a "priceless raw material for the next era of biomedical research." Collins believes that "we are at a point in history where big data should not intimidate, but inspire us." 

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