The smartphone has quickly become the ideal tool for physicians. It enables companies’ long-touted tagline: At the point of care. But hardly ever has a medical app made such a close interpretation of that slogan. Meet Figure1. We gave it a try to see whether it was true.
Figure1 is in its very essence a very simple photo sharing app. It allows healthcare professionals to skim through medical images and discuss them with colleagues. You may ask the community a certain question or simply learn by looking through images and then learning from it. You also get a weekly newsletter which basically looks like this (Cleary, this is Waterhouse-Friderichsen-Syndrom). Hashtags make it easy to find relevant images and position yourself as a medical specialist in a respective field. The app has no special sign-up process that prevents any user, (non HCPs) from using the app, which brings me to a point of criticism (Doximity + Figure1?!). There is a large amount of commentary on each image, much of which is not helpful. Blunt comments and emoticons do not add value for physicians. Some doctors are very actively sharing and interacting with their peers, but a large portion seem to be users who are more interested in “shocking images” than in finding out a certain diagnosis. This makes it tedious for the professional user and ruins the whole experience.
The design is great but could be much simpler. Think of Tinder meets Instagram – a very, very intuitive and addictive way to interact with image material. Figure1 lacks the “stickiness” element and using it can feel a bit overwhelming.
The basic idea of Figure1 is striking, yet they have a lot of work to do when it comes to the user interface and comment moderation. Moderation and creating addictiveness are key. If Figure1 figures this out then this could be a huge disruption in healthcare and pave a new visual way for learning medical symptoms and diseases.