This article focuses on the potential impact of big data analysis to improve health, prevent and detect disease at an earlier stage, and personalize interventions. The role that big data analytics may have in interrogating the patient electronic health record toward improved clinical decision support is discussed. We examine developments in pharmacogenetics that have increased our appreciation of the reasons why patients respond differently to chemotherapy. We also assess the expansion of online health communications and the way in which this data may be capitalized on in order to detect public health threats and control or contain epidemics. Finally, we describe how a new generation of wearable and implantable body sensors may improve wellbeing, streamline management of chronic diseases, and improve the quality of surgical implants.