Doctors Figure out Medical Mysteries with a Mobile App

The Figure 1 app has been labeled the “Instagram for doctors” and has hit 1 million subscribers. Figure 1 is used by doctors and healthcare students from a variety of specialties including medicine, nursing, and dentistry. Figure 1 said its free online mobile tool – used by medical practitioners around the world to share images of patient ailments and seek the opinions of others – has shared its medical images more than 1.5 billion times on its platform. The company estimates two-thirds of North American medical students now use the app, which is also used by institutions.

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Doctors can now use direct messaging to their peers

Users typically share images of challenging or classic cases, and often seek help from the Figure1 community about how to treat patients, or even diagnose them. But now doctors can use peer to peer direct messaging for instant commentary and advice. This is a time saving measure and can be a valuable point of care situation. 

What about Patient Privacy?

Figure 1 has to make sure patient privacy is a priority for healthcare professionals, and they have designed Figure 1 to maintain privacy.

In a Figure 1 profile, you can identify a name, workplace, and other information about yourself. However, you must remove identifying details related to patients from any case you post. (For example: faces and tattoos.) Click here for more information. There is also an automatic face-blocking feature detects faces and blocks them, and the manual block feature allows you to quickly and easily block anything else that might identify a patient.

doctors and figure 1Doctors can upload cases with comments and photos.

Once a case is uploaded, a medical officer and team of moderators at Figure 1 perform a review of each case to verify that all identifying information has been properly removed from it before it is shown on Figure 1. However, if you think that a case, comment, or description on Figure 1 may identify a patient (or supplies information that risks identifying the patient), you can report the case, and it will be immediately removed until our medical officer reviews it. Should a case be deemed to potentially identify a patient, Figure 1 will immediately and securely destroy it, and we will alert the healthcare professional who uploaded the case accordingly.

Whats the future for Figure 1?

Now its ambition is to become the dominant online platform for doctors, or “the operating system of health care,” said Boris Wertz, a Vancouver venture capitalist who has backed the company.

The app can be used for teaching, learning and for patient point of care.

Dr Joshua Landy, co-founder of Figure 1, said “you work in teams, you learn in teams, you study in groups and everything is about bouncing the ideas off, learning to see other people’s perspective and learning from your peers.”  You will be able to share the knowledge of healthcare professionals through the network but also around the world.

He said that since they started the app in 2013, they have millions of healthcare professionals in 190 countries using it. “The ability to be able to reach out to someone in the moment that you need information and receive it means that you could access this worldwide network of healthcare professionals who are there to help you with your case.” All this provides better patient care, shorter wait times and hopefully lower costs in the healthcare system – in theory. It would be great if patients could share photos with a team of doctors to get insights and diagnosis. Check out the article on apps to connect with your doctor.

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