App lets doctors securely share medical images

August 20, 2013

Figure 1, a free social medical photo-sharing app available for iOS in the iTunes store, has been gaining attention since it debuted early this summer.

Many are calling it an “Instagram for healthcare professionals,” and one thing is for sure - if you’re not used to seeing graphic surgical photos, you’ve been warned.

Figure 1 is available for free in the iTunes store.

Figure 1, a free social medical photo-sharing app available for iOS in the iTunes store, has been gaining attention since it debuted early this summer.

The app is the brainchild of Joshua Landy, M.D., a critical care specialist in Toronto and co-founder of the app.

Figure 1 is a crowd-sourced tool for healthcare professionals to share medical images and use them as a learning aid. Figure 1 gives image uploaders the ability to say something about the photo, add arrows to point out findings on the image, and add patient privacy with blurs and black-out boxes.

While you can find eye-catching images - some so gruesome that it’s hard to look away - perhaps the most notable part about the app is the medical dialogue found in the comment section of each image. Some physicians upload photos as pop-quizzes by asking others to guess what’s wrong with the patient. Others simply share rare or interesting cases, and an education discussion unfolds in the comments.

Although the app is not limited to healthcare professionals, when creating a profile you are asked to identify yourself by your profession, and then you are give the option to verify your credentials.

As for patient confidentiality and privacy, special considerations have been made in the app.

“We know that patient privacy is a priority for healthcare professionals, and we have designed Figure 1 with that firmly in mind,” according to the Figure 1 website. “We take patient privacy extremely seriously, and we have worked hard to make sure that you don’t breach privacy regulations while using Figure 1.”

For more information about the app, or concerns about patient privacy, visit the app’s FAQ page on its website.