Precision public health—the Emperor’s new clothes

International Journal of Epidemiology
Volume 48, Issue 1, February 2019

Precision public health—the Emperor’s new clothes
David Taylor-Robinson; Frank Kee
International Journal of Epidemiology, Volume 48, Issue 1, February 2019, Pages 1–6,
Recently the Centre for Disease Control suggested that ‘precision public health’ presents significant opportunities to improve the health of the population,1 but what does this concept add and does it live up to the hype? The promise is that by harnessing the power of Big Data, particularly genomic data, we may indeed see early gains in public health as a result of ‘more-accurate methods for measuring disease, pathogens, exposures, behaviors, and susceptibility’ to guide targeted prevention strategies.2 However, the term ‘precision public health’ is susceptible to misinterpretation.