Personal Health Ombudsman App

Text: Mantis Kane

Illustration: David Foldvari

Insuring against malpractice on the dentist chair, hospital bed or care home used to be the domain of dusty civil servants and a feedback system based on the trusty Motel guest book. But now there’s the Personal Health Ombudsman App - or PHO. A digital whistleblower with a compendium of every medical act ever performed.


Contained inside its code is every medical symptom and procedure ever recorded - the consummate health aid with an encyclopaedic knowledge beyond anything a human brain could retain.


Simply input your health concern and let PHO compute the best course of action. If it can’t be solved via blended turmeric and kale, it will supervise your interaction with a health professional - constantly cross referencing, checking the diagnosis and prescriptions, ready to beam code red if something’s amiss.


In the case of needing an operation, PHO will be by your side, secretly scanning events, watching every move, ready to override the anaesthetic with a piercing 8bit ringtone and adrenaline sound shock. As you sprint from the operating theatre, PHO will already be calculating the best alternative - be it a backstreet vasectomy with a tin can opener or a self administered tooth extraction, it will stoically muster the best solution when everything else is failing.

Needing a medical procedure in an overworked and defunded health system requires an elk-like leap of faith, or stone-cold death wish. Unable to oversee the diagnosis or operation, we lie on the operating table entering a lottery, fingers tightly crossed under a makeshift surgical gown of reconstituted potato skins and carrier bags. The tired faces of the theatre staff blink in and out of consciousness, simulating the effects of the substitute tequila and paracetamol anaesthetic being intravenously drip fed into you from a modified pig's bladder. ‘It could be you’ -  a giant tired finger prods around indiscriminately, half heartily trying to locate a problem. You’re at the healthcare casino - the odds are scary.