Figure 1 is an app that functions as a community for medical professionals to safely share their clinical cases and discuss treatment options.  It is a crowdsourced medical image library that healthcare professionals can use to share, rank, and discuss images. It’s popularly referred to as the “Instagram for Doctors”.

What does it do?

The app uses the phone’s camera to take an image, crop, or annotate the image. It then uploads it to the secure Figure1 database. There are already thousands of such images on the Figure 1 database, and they can be found using  hashtags or image descriptions. Users can also search for diagnoses or notable findings. It also has an auto-suggest feature that suggests searches from previous tags and the medical dictionary database. Users can also note “favorite” images to keep them accessible for ready reference.

How does it work?

Healthcare professionals can sign up for an account and have their medical licences verified. Then, images can be uploaded to the app, after signing a consent form for the medical privacy laws in their region. Images can also be accessed by signing up for an account on the Figure 1 website.

The Face Block feature in the app that lets users remove sensitive patient details and identify features by swiping their finger across the screen. Currently the app is only available in UK, Ireland, US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand, France and Germany – where Figure 1 has been approved by health privacy lawmakers.

Figure 1 plans to launch the app in South Africa soon, followed by parts of Western Europe over the rest of 2014 and Asia next year.

The app can is  incredibly useful for medical educational and among healthcare providers who encounter interesting images or visual findings.  You can download the iOS App here, and the Android App here.