Figure 1: The Instagram for Medical Providers

When I get home from work my husband always asks about my day.  Lacking the words and energy to thoroughly re-live the past 12 hours and the ability to sufficiently describe the gross dealings with bodily fluids I have had, I usually grunt and head straight for the wine rack.  Eventually, after I am fed, I divulge a few of the juiciest tidbits of my day.  But, what if upon walking through the door I could show him my more notable dealings in photo?

Figure 1, a new app for medical professionals aims to become the Instagram of healthcare.  The brainchild of physician Joshua Landy, Figure 1 allows physicians, NP's, PA's and nurses to upload interesting on-the-job medical photos.  Providers simply snap photos of interesting cases and upload them to the app so others can learn from (or sympathize with) their experiences.  Unintentionally, Figure 1 also provides an interesting read when waiting in line, bored at work, or procrastinating from writing your research paper due next week.

What about privacy, you say?  Patient privacy is the most obvious concern in using an app like Figure 1.  However, app creators anticipated this roadblock and have taken appropriate steps to de-identify patients.  A built-in face identifying feature automatically blocks faces. Users can also manually block other identifying features such as tattoos and scars.  Finally, Figure 1 users can flag any photo they believe contains identifying information.  A medical officer determines if the photo breaches patient privacy guidelines and destroys the offending photo if necessary.

I downloaded the Figure 1 app today to test it out.  I laid out by the pool searching "lacerations" and "Stevens Johnson Syndrome".  All I have to say is Figure 1 is not for the faint of heart.  With medical providers posting their most interesting cases, there are some pretty intense pictures on this app.  While I wouldn't share it with your kids, and maybe not even your spouse, Figure 1 is a unique learning tool for medical providers.

I may just start using the Figure 1 app to snap a few photos of the more interesting cases I treat at work.  They might help me convey a little more about my day when my husband greets me after work.  And also become a learning tool for other providers, of course.