If you’re ever wondering whether a rare medical condition has been seen or diagnosed before in other parts of the world, there is no quicker way to find out than through your smartphone. Figure 1, a venture-backed startup that was spearheaded by a team of physicians out of Toronto four years ago, has developed an innovative, free mobile app for the medical community which hosts medical images from all over the world to help healthcare professionals make smarter decisions and improve patient outcomes.
The app works by what Joshua Wildstein, VP of Business Development for Figure 1 calls “spiral learning”, the idea that people learn best seeing one concept over and over again, understanding it more each time they see it. According to Joshua, “medical students that regularly open Figure 1 to scan through new cases will see many different real-life presentations of the same condition, over and over again so when a patient presents with it in real life, the knowledge from those previous cases is assimilated into a diagnosis.”
Some refer to Figure 1 as the “Instagram for doctors,” with the mobile app just passing 2 million registered users spanning 190 countries. Cases have been viewed over 2 billion times since the product was launched, bringing together engagement and collaboration between physicians, nurse practitioners and medical students all over the world.
The application offers a variety of educational content using a simple editorial standard in the form of posts to build awareness around disease states, medical devices, and surgical procedures. Cases can be viewed by anatomy or specialty and within the posts, users can engage with others and comment on them with their insights as to what they may think a condition may be or if they have seen something similar before.
In addition to the educational imagery on Figure 1, the startup recently developed a method of monetizing content through sponsored content and polls, or what they call “peer-to-peer sponsored content.” Global brands such as Novartis and the CDC Foundation to name a few, have signed on to sponsor educational programs like “Figure 1 on 1’s”, where physicians and thought leaders engage in moderated Q&A’s covering topics such as rare diseases, medical procedures or new applications of medicine.
“Figure 1 Insights” offers educational content like quizzes in which users are presented an image with details about what’s happening with a certain medical case. After the user guesses the answer, he or she is presented with the solution and may also see how everyone else responded. Joshua says this is yet another method of spiral learning featured on the app.
So, next time you’re wondering if the suspicious looking pink eye on your 10 year old patient is just that or something more serious, you may be able to save some time while educating others by checking out Figure 1 first.