The “Father of Modern Medicine” is also the father of patient registries. Hippocrates (c. 460 BC–c. 370 BC) urged doctors to record the symptoms they observed daily in their patients: “The physician must be able to tell the antecedents, know the present, and foretell the future.” (Of the Epidemics, c. 400 BC).
The first modern registries, focused on patient populations with specific diseases, emerged in the 20th century, with their use expanded for disease- and drug-based research by the 1980s. Now, in the age of Big Data, the registries give new meaning to community organizing by growing, or planning to grow, into sources of some of the most valuable data around—namely, the experiences of patients, and the genetics behind them.
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