October 28, 2016 – Embracing Variation


Anchor lead: Emerging technologies may help us understand why some people respond to medical treatments and some don’t, Elizabeth Tracey reports

Trying to understand why some people respond to certain medicines or treatments and others don’t is a kind of Holy Grail in medicine, and one that may soon be in reach as electronic monitoring and testing devices become more robust, portable and accurate, including some in development at Johns Hopkins.  Landon King, executive vice dean of Johns Hopkins Medicine, frames up the issue.

King: Much of the discussion around variation in medicine is variation is a bad thing. Where when we are not consistent in a particular approach we believe that that impacts on efficiency or cost or maybe outcomes.  But in fact we know very well that in the practice of medicine, the variation in biology holds the key in thinking about what dictates that people that have the same diagnosis behave in different ways, or respond in very different ways to therapies.  :32

King says such devices can provide a wealth of data about an individual that helps in treatment decisions.  At Johns Hopkins, I’m Elizabeth Tracey.