Dr. John Snow’s attitude — who lived in the UK Living in the 1800s- towards the cholera epidemic is considered a turning point in both the world of medicine and informatics.
In those years governments and the medical practitioners were helpless against the cholera epidemic, which had an impact similar to the current Covid epidemic. On that time cholera was thought to spread through the respiration. Dr. Snow used another skill with his medical knowledge while fighting against cholera. He processed the data of those who passed away from cholera in London on the map. Collecting and visualizing the data showed him, deaths were gathering around Broad Street.
This revealed an unknown fact. Cholera disease had been spread through water, not air. Dr. Snow broke the pump on Broad Street, and that’s how the cholera epidemic was stopped.
Almost 200 years later, we are battling another epidemic. The fear, disinformation, panic and burnout we have experienced in the last two years is very similar to the ones in the past.
In fact, as someone who has been diagnosed with Covid for the last five days, I am in this struggle too. I am OK and recovering by having a rest at home. And I’ve been hearing this question around for five days from all the people I speak, and I’m asking myself continuously as well:
– How are you? Are you doing well?
The progress of the disease and the symptoms are going different from the flu and/or cold we are used to. I can’t give a single answer because of decreasing or increasing symptoms, random progressions. I need data to digest and tell the story. If there is data, I am relieved. I measure my temperature, I follow my heartrate and oxygen level, my blood pressure, medications I take, my sleep hours with simple devices or my phone. I am grateful to the caregiver skills of the medical-technology and data science that John Snow gifted to the world.
Thanks to technology, now I am able to follow up my own health, with the measurements and treatments which necessarily were under the control of healthcare professionals until near past. We were putting a load on the healthcare system which was radically lightened today by technology. We need hospitals for more severe cases only.
With the help of technology; health and research institutions, doctors and healthcare professionals will spend less effort to fight behind the known problems of today and more effort to innovate for the possible problems of tomorrow.
The automation of some of the jobs (measurement-keeping records-patient follow-up-observation, etc.) performed by healthcare professionals, did not make these people unemployed, on the contrary, it allowed them to transform their jobs into more meaningful ones. There are so many unknown questions waiting to be discovered in the world, in our body, in science. Thanks to technology, we will be able to devote more time to answering precisely these questions.