On 28th May, the Figure 1 App was launched on the App Store, and with it, co-creator Dr. Joshua Landy hopes to create the world's first crowdsourced medical image library. "There is a culture among physicians of sharing interesting findings, whether they're classic ones that we learn in medical school but rarely see, or they're just picture-textbook-perfect versions of things that we see day-to-day," says Dr. Landy, and Figure 1 is proving to be very popular in helping doctors further this culture, with hundreds of images already uploaded.

Figure 1 will allow HCPs to share and comment on uploaded patient images with others in the medical community. Any doctor wishing to use the app has to identify themselves as a registered medical professional to access higher functions on the App, and there is a very rigorous privacy policy to keep patient information anonymous too. The in-App features include automatic facial recognition, which detects and blocks patients' faces, along with the ability for the HCP to remove any identifying marks such as tattoos.

Users can upload and tag images, use other doctors' images for information, or use the App to rate the clinical accuracy of uploaded photos. Some of the images are pretty gruesome, but then one could argue that this is what many physicians see day-in and day-out. In fact, one journalist has described Figure 1 as doing for medicine what Instagram does for the lay-person, "allowing [healthcare] professionals to see through one anothers eyes"

A press release for the parent company, Movable Science, states that their mission is "to use advancements in mobile technology to make the everyday lives of healthcare professionals and their patients safer and more efficient". At the minute, only those using an iPhone can benefit, but an Android rollout will follow later this year, and with the uptake already in the thousands, it can well be assumed that adoption of this new diagnostic tool will grow exponentially!

The App is only available in North America at present, but we think this is one to watch, and can't wait to see how it gets on when released over here...

(and if you get as excited about this stuff as the author, the company have released an explanatory video, which you can view here)