The cardiovascular research and clinical communities are ideally positioned to address the epidemic of noncommunicable causes of death, as well as advance our understanding of human health and disease, through the development and implementation of precision medicine. New tools will be needed for describing the cardiovascular health status of individuals and populations, including ‘omic’ data, exposome and social determinants of health, the microbiome, behaviours and motivations, patient-generated data, and the array of data in electronic medical records. Cardiovascular specialists can build on their experience and use precision medicine to facilitate discovery science and improve the efficiency of clinical research, with the goal of providing more precise information to improve the health of individuals and populations. Overcoming the barriers to implementing precision medicine will require addressing a range of technical and sociopolitical issues. Health care under precision medicine will become a more integrated, dynamic system, in which patients are no longer a passive entity on whom measurements are made, but instead are central stakeholders who contribute data and participate actively in shared decision-making. Many traditionally defined diseases have common mechanisms; therefore, elimination of a siloed approach to medicine will ultimately pave the path to the creation of a universal precision medicine environment.