Figure 1: The Instagram for Doctors

Figure 1 is a free medical photo-sharing app dubbed the “Instagram for Doctors," that's envisioning a new way for doctors and healthcare professionals to share knowledge and learn from one another’s experiences.

Dubbed “socialized medicine” for the digital age, doctors and health care professionals use the app to:

  • share knowledge
  • help with medical questions
  • further research
  • document medical surprises

The app helps crowd source medical opinions from other doctors and potentially identify mystery illnesses. The app was created by Josh Landy and internist and critical-care medicine specialist in Toronto. He also collaborated with communications professor Gregory Levey and software developer Richard Penner.

Landy observed and studied how young physicians use their phones for consulting and sharing photos on their own mobile devices. He realized the value in leveraging that behavior. 



Now we're sure you're thinking "Hmm,what about privacy?" reat question and our next thought as well. Algorithms and digital tools ensure privacy (smudging faces and tattoos. Privacy moderators review images and uploading a photo prompts an automatic patient-consent form.

Medical education has always been about team learning. The more cases a doctor does, the more exposure and better they get.

App was launched in may 2013. Figure 1 has a user base of hundreds of thousands.

  • 92% are health-care professionals
  • 1/3 are physicians and med students
  • 1/3 nurses, nurse practitioners
  • Remainder are paramedics, pharmacists, physiotherapists, acupuncturists

Recent internal study divided usage stats into even thirds

  • Diagnostic or treatment advice
  • Education and teaching
  • Quiz time

App is very popular for medical students. Complies with legal patient privacy standards by asking each patient for consent either electronically or by paper.

  • Each consent form is customized the country the patient is in
  • All identifying features must be blurred or blacked out including tattoos, scars
  • This is why most of images depict limbs, x-rays, MRIs (but no faces)