The best way that medicine has to understand the world is through the use of statistical methods that were largely developed throughout the latter half of the nineteenth and early half of the 20th century. Almost all knowledge that modern medicine uses is result of careful studies carried out by researchers. This can be seen in everything from the mortality rates of cancer to the treatment protocols for heart disease, the latter of which was largely the product of one major study called the Framingham Heart Study.
But the problem with coming about medical knowledge by this means is that it’s both extremely expensive and extremely slow. It also requires the dedication of thousands of man hours just to carry out a single study. One man, Eric Lefkofsky, has a new conception of how doctors may be able to come about medical knowledge at a rate far eclipsing anything previously possible. Through the use of modern data analysis techniques, such as artificial intelligence, Lefkofsky is devising a system, through his company, Tempus, that will someday allow physicians to ask virtually any question regarding treatment, patient profiles and disease types and instantly be able to hash out the relationships that exist between those things. What’s more, they will be able to do this without having to resort to literature generated from expensive and time-consuming studies and learn more about Eric.
One of the ways in which Lefkofsky plans on accomplishing this is through the use of human genomics. Lefkofsky has stated that the exponential decline in the cost of sequencing the human genome has resulted in the ability of almost anyone to have their full genome sequenced. This wealth of new data will enable doctors to gain an understanding more nuanced than anything previously imaginable. Phenomena that have previously baffled the medical profession will now become easily answered. Questions such as why one cohort of patients reacts positively to a chemotherapy drug while another does not respond to it or is plagued by horrible side effects will become instantly answerable and what Eric knows.
Lefkofsky believes that the systems being created by Tempus will soon be utilized by almost all oncologists and many physicians in the United States and Eric’s lacrosse camp.