Health Infomatics

Health Infomatics had come a long way, thought Liz. Even in the time I’ve been working at Lucerne Village Medical Centre, primary patient care has transformed from purely personal to mostly technical. Sure, you get a few moments with a health care professional, but then it’s straight onto machines, and computers do the rest.

Liz was underpaid and underworked, but it was better than it used to be – underpaid and overworked. But hers was a valuable role – the observer, and when needs be, she would step up to actor; she had the skills and experience needed to handle emergency failures.

The doors slid open and a middle aged man walked in. He looked around nervously and walked up to the desk. Liz said, “Good morning, Sir. How may we help you?”

“Em, I haven’t been inside a hospital for years. They sort of scare me. I was feeling unwell and went to see my doctor. He couldn’t really say what it was, so he sent me here.” “Ok, Sir, that all sounds fine. We’ll give you a check up and take it from there.” She clicked open a new file and asked for his ID, which she scanned and returned. “What form does your unwellness take? I mean, what are you feeling?”

“It’s tightness in my throat and chest, and a puffy nose. It could be an allergy, but…”

“Follow me, sir. Let’s not try to second guess. We have the best equipment here. It will tell us everything.”

Liz asked him to remove his jacket and shoes and lie on the bed at the centre of the room. She removed the EMU (Electromagnetic Medical Unit) from its charger and keyed in the codes for White, Forties, Male. EMU units were a great advance – not so much in medical technology, as they performed the same function as flux MRI scanners; more a medical convenience. They weighed three kilos and could be passed over the patient’s body with ease. There was no need now for the whole “entering the tomb” ritual. Their sales had been boosted by a marketing campaign where an animated emu races ahead while an ostrich stays with its head buried in sand. The message was that the EMU tells you everything, even the things you’ve never thought about and don’t want to know.

“Okay, Sir, the EMU says that your sickness is psychosomatic. Do you know what that means? Yes, that’s right; it’s caused by your mind rather than by your body. There is however another indicator showing a ninety-seven percent chance of your developing brain cancer within three years.”

The man looked shocked. “Do I need to start chemotherapy?”

Liz smiled and shook her head. “Sir, when was the last time you were treated in a hospital? More than ten years ago? I thought so. Medical technology is much improved since then. You will need just twenty-four hours of treatment, and your current respiratory complaints and future ontological complaints will be gone. Please come here at ten o’clock tomorrow morning, prepared for an overnight stay.”

The man blinked rapidly and said, “That sounds amazing. How will you treat me?”

“We have several options. I suggest the HEAL machine, which stands for Holistic Emotional Astral Landscapes. The Law of Attraction motivates your healing, creating parallels between your perfect inner state and your perfect outer place. The patient chooses a desirable environment in which to spend the next twenty four hours. Popular choices are deserts, mountains, forests or oceans; you may prefer to be projected into the future, or back to Renaissance, medieval or Biblical times; you may also choose the body of a man, woman, child or foetus; some men find feminine energy more healing and prefer to take that avatar. Many people feel empowered by ancient cultures, and visualize powerful symbols such as the Ankh, Taijitu, Alpha, or OM.” The man was dazzled by all of this.

Liz continued, “You will be immersed in the world of your choice for twenty four hours, while nanobots modify and replace your defective cells. You will wake up feeling better than ever. How does that sound?”

Liz saw the thrill in the patient’s eyes. These HEAL machines almost made you want to be sick.

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2 Responses to “Health Infomatics”

  1. Cleto et al Says:

    Interesting, but your characters still sometimes say “Ok” as in “sock”, and sometimes “Okay” as in “O.K.”

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