Ever wonder while sitting in the waiting room if you’re the only one who’s come down with strep throat in the middle of the summer? Or maybe you’re curious to know how many people transmitted the flu this past winter? Patients now have access to the largest database of real-time health care records in the United States: “Insight” by Practice Fusion.

The data from more than 100,000 doctors and 81 million “de-identified,” or anonymous, patients give users free access to over 2,000 diseases and show which populations are most commonly treated. For example, using Insight's immense data sets, you would be able to find that 1.6 of all patients aged 80 years and older are currently diagnosed with pneumonia.

“Real-time patient health data has been kept under lock and key, both because of technology limitations and the companies monetizing that data at a high cost—until today,” said Ryan Howard, Practice Fusion founder and CEO, on his website. “Insight unleashes powerful, de-identified health data from tens of millions of real patients and more than 2,000 drug therapies in real time, at no cost.”

Patient Fusion is a free electronic health record (EHR) company founded in San Francisco, Calif., in 2005. It started out by providing physicians and health professionals with free HER and medical practice technology, which includes charting, scheduling, online prescription processing, medical billing, and more. It took all of the tools it provided for the medical field, collected the data, and organized it in a user-friendly way. As of November 2013, the company reported having a data collection from more than 75 million patients.  

It will allow researchers, physicians, and the public to see seasonal changes in diagnoses, gradual changes over time, and the occasional abrupt changes in disease and conditions that become public interest. After selecting a diagnosis, such as depression disorder, the user will be able to select specific demographics, such as a patient’s age, gender, or even body mass index (BMI).

“Researchers, developers and universities all need access to de-identified medical data to help inform studies, identify health trends and ultimately improve the standard of care for patients everywhere,” said Matthew Douglass, Practice Fusion’s vice president of product development.

By selecting the trending screen, users will be able to view the data through a visual presentation with different graphs in order to see what diagnoses that are increasing or decreasing from week-to-week. Another option called the “Top 100” list will allow users to easily see what the top diagnoses are across the country. It even goes as far as making patient history, diagnoses, descriptions of prescriber’s profiles, and payer information available to everyone with the common courtesy of anonymity.

“Today’s health care landscape is incredibly complex and fragmented,” said Chris Hogg, the vice president of data science at Practice Fusion. “Access to real-time, meaningful healthcare data is one of the biggest challenges of the 21st century.”