Eric Lefkofsky on Data-Driven Medicine

data medicine

Eric Lefkofsky is a serial entrepreneur and tech investor who has founded successful companies in business services and media industry. He is currently the founder and CEO of Tempus, which is an industry leader providing tech-enabled and precision-based medicine solutions. Eric is also the co-founder and chairmen of Groupon which is one of the biggest E-commerce platforms in the world.

Eric Lefkofsky has spent a big part of his career trying to make sense of messy data. His main focus has always been to bring technology into industries that are yet to adapt it especially when it comes to data collection. According to him, Tempus was founded based on the fact there was very little data that permeated cancer treatment. Tempus was the solution to try and fix the underlying data infrastructure in cancer care and eventually health care in general. The challenge was getting structured clinical data which could be connected to molecular data in one place.


Tempus is the second largest clinical sequencer cancer patient count in the US. It is the same sequencing that patients will normally get when they’re being treated for cancer. The other providers look at the characteristics from a prevention side while Tempus is all about managing the disease. As a result, the sequencing has to be done in great depth. There have been multiple technology paradigm shifts in healthcare all hitting at one time.

Not only can you store data at unimaginable costs but there also a genomic revolution that is unparalleled. This has resulted in reducing the cost of storing and processing this data by a million folds in the last 12 years. The cost of reducing molecular data has been decreasing over the years. There are companies that have been at the forefront in developing technology that allows for data to be stored and generated at low costs. According to Eric, this has made it possible to collect and structure molecular data and use machine learning to figure out consistent patterns that could be used by decision makers.

Big Techs in Data-Driven Medicine

Eric is upbeat about big corporations who want to participate in data-driven medicine. According to him, this is likely to be the start of a prolonged trend. With the ability to store and process data, the technology should be able to keep patients alive. The healthcare market is a huge space that all the big players will always try to find a way to be part of it.

Artificial Intelligence in Medicine

According to Lefkofsky, Tempus tries to offer a holistic solution to the challenges that come with artificial intelligence in medicine. Tempus combines phenotypic data, morphological and molecular data. In order to solve the problem, you need to do it have it all under one roof so that you can monitor what is happening with the patients.

Useful entrepreneurship lessons

Eric says he has learned invaluable lessons from all the companies he started that could be applied to Tempus. In each experience, he tries to repeat what worked well and avoid those didn’t. One of the lessons has learned from his businesses over the years is it is better to stay private longer. Tempus is expanding to other healthcare verticals based on the experiences and lessons learned from the other businesses.


According to Eric, all the data efforts that cost money will be sizable and affordable in the near future. The main objective of collecting the data is to navigate patients to the right treatment. Most of the healthcare money goes towards hospitalization when the care goes wrong. You can’t afford to have things to go wrong when it comes to cancer treatment.

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