Review: Figure1 – Medical images for education

I discovered a new web/smartphone app based medical image service called ‘Figure1’ – An intriguing idea the basic premise of which is ‘Instagram for Doctors and Nurses’, but compliant with the USA based HIPPA rules and a good helping of common sense regarding consent for image use.

Thanks to one of the many podcasts I watch for this discovery: in this case ‘Health Tech Weekly’ episode ‘Figure 1 is Like Instagram for Doctors and Nurses

Sign up for figure 1 was very simple. Download the free app from the IOS App store (available for Android too), enter a username and password and away you go. There is also an option to sign in with an existing doximity account if you have one.

First impressions: lots and lots of medical images with pretty useful tags and classifications. All the usual social sharing functions seem built in out of the box: favourites, sharing with friends etc. As I signed up with a normal username/password account, next day I have received an email link to become verified as a licensed health care professional. As I am based, and registered, in Australia it will be interesting to see how this process goes. Though even without verification the service seems pretty useful if you need images for teaching purposes or even just to refresh your general medical knowledge.

As well as tags and keywords, images are classified by specialty. My own specialty, Anaesthetics, whilst having its own category has plenty of images which I would have classified as more surgical. Although there is an excellent collection of rather juicy looking chest x-rays to ponder!

More updates as I explore but I like the concept and this service could link in to the #FOAM  (Free Open Access Medical Education) movement around the world. My only concern is the business model of this service. The Health tech Weekly podcast interview with the founder asked this question and it seems they have initial funding but I cant see an income stream with the service as is so I am not sure where ultimately they are heading.

Notwithstanding, as is, it is a service with a great collection of images for educational use. Go for it!