TechTool review figure1 by Movable Science on iOS
Figure1 is an app for health professionals to share and discuss images of their patients. The database is vast, the cases are varied and they make for compelling viewing.
It’s great fun to use.
I reviewed Figure1 when it was initially released in the US. This week it has officially launched in Australia. Here I take a look at version 3.1, eight months after launch
- Since my last review, the app has really stepped up on design and usability. The graphics have changed and make for a much slicker design and it’s really easy to navigate the app.
- Now it is possible to view images by body part or specialty, which makes it so much more relevant for the user
This seems like a potential confidentiality and security issue, doesn’t it?
- We spoke to the Figure1 team to see how they were dealing with privacy and security:
- Who can post images? Only verified healthcare professionals are allowed to post pictures.
- Is the consent form good enough? The consent form in the app is specific to the country that the user is in e.g. in Australia the consent form has been drafted by Australian lawyers.
- How do they ensure patient confidentiality? All images need to be identified before publications – this is done by the user uploading the image and also each image is checked by the Figure1 team.
- Can we use these images for FOAM teaching? Unfortunately images cannot be shared on blogs or for FOAM at the moment.
Verified users can:
- Upload images of their patients
- Anonymise the images before publishing them
- Record patient consent in the actual app
Each image contributes to an increasingly awesome database. Users can then:
- Search by category or keyword
- Mark pictures as favourites
- Engage in below the line discussion about the image and the clinical case
Room for Improvement
- Images can take a while to load but that’s always going to be an issue with opening them from a database. Otherwise the app would be enormous and take up too much space on your phone.
- There are still some strange confidentiality issues and rules. Someone recently had to black out the eye on an anencephalic baby who was born with just one eye in the middle of his face. A bizarre interpretation of anonymity.
- Without a doubt, this is my favourite medical app at the moment. I check the Paediatrics feed every day and have seen some completely bizarre (yet fabulous) images.
- This is what great education is all about. Crowd-sourcing information and sharing it with others for discussion and learning. If you don’t have this app on your phone then stop wasting time reading this review and get downloading.