Dr. Weiss is Physician Coordinator, Imaging Informatics at
Carilion Clinic and Associate Professor of Radiology at the Virginia
Tech Carilion School of Medicine. He is a member of the Applied Radiology Editorial Advisory Board.
Attending a medical informatics meeting in Orlando is a study of
antipodes: At the conference, an industry in early death throes,
collapsing of its own weight and bent double by the crushing imposition
of exponentially burdensome government regulations.
In the theme
parks, there is an expanding and breathtaking entertainment
conglomerate limited only by the vision and ingenuity of its management
and employees. Many industries have been able to respond creatively to
financial challenges with, for example, additional fees,
behind-the-scenes tours, licensed collectibles, and lotteries. Were
healthcare to attempt similar projects, it would likely precipitate
angry mobs wielding pitchforks and lighted brands. Nevertheless,
relaxing on the return flight, I enjoyed a hopeful reverie…
and gentlemen, welcome to HealthWorld Medical Center and Theme Park. We
ask that you keep hands and feet inside the wheelchairs at all times. I
will be serving as your guide, and before we begin the tour, I would
like to give you a short history of HealthWorld. The medical facility we
will be visiting today closed its doors in 2012, along with most other
U.S. hospitals, shortly after the government healthcare overhaul. It
also fell victim to the billions of dollars spent on the ill-fated
electronic medical record (EMR) implementation attempts of the past half
decade. The campus deteriorated over the last several years as it lay
abandoned, a time when most Americans who could afford it sought their
healthcare overseas. The property was purchased and renovated in 2015 by
the Meditainment Corporation. Meditainment got its start in the early
part of this decade producing medical reality television shows and has
since moved on to “live” health-related amusement.
tickets ready as we approach patient registration. Be careful as you
de-chair, and please don’t forget to tip your orderly. We will need to
stay together as a group at all times. Our first exhibit is the
emergency department (also known as the ER). Those wishing to visit the
ER Pavilion should join the line to your right. The wait time from here
is approximately 2 hours. It seems a bit long, but that’s nothing
compared to what actual patients have to endure. We try to time our
patient arrivals so that each group gets to observe at least one major
trauma case. Be aware that those in the front rows may get a bit
spattered. Protective gown rentals are available at the entrance to the
tram for $2.
The rest of you, we’re walking... we’re walking...
Adjacent to the ER is the radiology department and to your left is our
newest attraction — The CT Scan Experience. Here you will be treated to a
genuine personal CT scan of your entire body. You may pick up a
complimentary image of your internal organ of choice at the end of the
tour. For an extra $5, we will mount this image in a lovely souvenir
keychain. For $20, you can purchase a full set of your images bound in a
flipbook. Do not take this ride if you are pregnant or under the age of
Okay people, we’re walking... we’re walking... The dark area
we are passing is the radiology reading room. Please, no flash
photography. This is where radiographic images from around the hospital
are interpreted. Oh look, there in the back. Two radiologists are
fighting over a case. This type of aggressive behavior is common among
members of this specialty, particularly those in captivity. Just last
week I had to use my tranquilizer gun to break up a heated debate. Very
unfortunate — those are 4 hours of physician productivity we will never
get back. Please refrain from making any loud noises in this section. It
can affect the speech recognition software used by the radiologists,
which makes them angry. For your own personal safety, don’t reach
through the bars of the cage. And, of course, no feeding the talent. We
keep our radiologists on a strict diet of caffeine and doughnuts to
We’re walking... we’re walking... Please stay
together. This is one of our most popular exhibits, the Surgical
Theater. Patients who agree to undergo surgery here receive a voucher
for a 20% discount on their next hospital visit and a one-year season
pass to the park. Let’s stop for a moment to observe this operation.
Keep your surgical masks on and try not to contaminate the sterile
field. You can see that the surgeon has already incised the abdominal
wall. I believe those sausage-like structures are the patient’s small
intestine. The scrub nurse is telling me that the bulging purple mass
the doctor is holding is an enlarged spleen. In the glass case behind
you is a collection of diseased organs and other interesting objects
removed from our patients, priced as marked. Oh dear, stand back people.
Be careful not to step in that. Don’t be embarrassed, ma’am, this
happens at least once a day. Housekeeping, Code Ralph, surgery 5. Code
Ralph, surgery 5.
Moving along now. We’re walking... we’re
walking... Straight ahead is our Outcomes Casino. Here patients, family,
friends, and even perfect strangers can make book on length of stay and
chance of survival. You’ll notice that the handicapping board lists
patients only by room number to comply with HIPAA regulations. There is
no house stakes limit and the wagering can become quite animated. C’mon
467 South, baby needs new shoes. The casino has participation agreements
in place with all specialties except cardiology. They are holding out
for a higher percentage of the vig.
Okay folks, we’re walking...
we’re walking... The construction area in front of you will soon be our
newest ride — Anaconda. This simulator will take you on a fantastical
voyage at the business end of a virtual colonoscope, dodging malignant
polyps, and navigating over fissured and cobblestoned mucosa. The ride
will replace our Urology Clinic and Waterpark, forced to close last year
at the insistence of an overzealous health department inspector.
Anaconda had been scheduled to open last month, but it needs just a bit
At the end of this colossal attraction, you
will be debouched to the cafeteria entrance. We will pause 30 minutes
here so you might enjoy a light bite and sample the same fare that our
patients receive. Our new chef has prepared some very nice low-sodium
and clear liquid meals for your dining pleasure. Don’t forget to try his
world-famous lime Jell-O dessert. Standard lunch is included in the
price of your admission; however, many of our visitors and patients
prefer the premium meal plan, available for a small additional fee.
here now. We’re walking... we’re walking... The large building to your
right is our Malpractice Jamboree. Here you can watch real physicians
on trial with their entire careers at stake. If you’re lucky, you might
be selected from the studio audience as an actual juror. Malpractice
Jamboree is sponsored by the American Trial Lawyers Association.
Tomorrow is a special event — the induction of former Senator John
Edwards into the Plaintiff Attorney Hall of Fame. It should be a very
We are now approaching our final attraction.
Ahead of us is a working patient floor. Hey, hands off that medication
cart young man. All of our drugs will be available for purchase in the
gift shop at the end of the tour. Those of you who signed up for the
Gurney Journey Inpatient Excursion should stop here. Give all your
belongings to the nurse, and she will dress you in a hospital gown for
Ladies and gentlemen, this completes our tour. You
will be exiting through the hospital gift shop. As I mentioned, drugs
are available for purchase here as well as scrub suits, surgical masks,
and emesis basins, all tastefully emblazoned with the HealthWorld logo.
Please don’t forget to pick up your complimentary CT images on the way
out. On behalf of the Meditainment Corporation, I would like to thank
you for visiting with us today. HealthWorld is the company’s flagship
property, and thanks to Meditainment’s innovative business model is
currently one of very few viable health centers in the nation. We hope
that one way or another you will be returning soon to HealthWorld
Medical Center and Theme Park, the Sickest Place on Earth.