February 17, 2011
The pursuit of the perfect end-state can drive a belief that there are limitless opportunities for improvement. Although perfection can never be fully realized, its pursuit can propel achievement of value and excellence; that is the rationale behind the Baldrige and other quality awards. The pursuit of perfection can be distinguished from ‘perfectionism’. Perfectionism is retrospective—hind-sighted and judgmental in its point of view. It devalues what has already been done because it is not perfect. By contrast, the pursuit of perfection is prospective and nonjudgmental. It asks the question, What choices and investments should we make today to move closer to the perfect end-state?It was with these thoughts in mind that I read with dismay the post by Katherine Hobson in the Wall Street Journal health blog last week. In it, she says that real benefits of genomics and personalized medicine are still many years away, citing just-published papers in the prestigious British journal Nature. This is a nasty rumor; a cliche; a bad meme that keeps coming back like a bad penny.
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