Precision medicine has the potential to profoundly improve the practice of medicine. However, the advances required will take time to implement. Genetics is already being used to direct clinical decision-making and its contribution is likely to increase. To accelerate these advances, fundamental changes are needed in the infrastructure and mechanisms for data collection, storage and sharing. This will create a continuously learning health-care system with seamless cycling between clinical care and research. Patients must be educated about the benefits of sharing data. The building blocks for such a system are already forming and they will accelerate the adoption of precision medicine.