If you’re tired of seeing the same old sunsets and hot dog legs on your Instagram feed, this will make you take back every complaint you’ve ever made.
Figure 1 is designed to be Instagram for doctors, and it’s really gross.
Essentially, doctors use the app to take a photo of someone’s condition (WITH their consent – the app is really big on this) and post it to get comments, feedback and advice. To take a photo, you have to show the patient full information about the app and get their signature, and you’re also required to blank out their face and any identifying marks like tattoos. Although you could argue that some of the conditions we’ve seen on the app are identifying in themselves.
You’re supposed to be a medical professional to sign up, but there’s nothing to stop normal people (or journalists) getting the app as long as they’re willing to lie about what they specialise in, from a dropdown list. Your confirmation email encourages – but not requires – you to get verified as a medical worker, saying “your photos are ranked higher and your comments and favorites hold more weight.” But there’s nothing to stop you seeing the photos if you don’t.
The consent form for patients does say “healthcare professionals and other” [sic] might see your photos, and they’re all checked before uploading to make sure they’re properly deidentified, so it’s pretty watertight.
Though why anyone would want to scroll through categories like these by choice is beyond us!
It’s like they make the menu images gross on purpose. Hurgh.
Nonetheless, Figure 1 say they now have 500,000 medical professionals signed up across 100 countries, with 4 in 10 US medical students using the app.
It’s pretty interesting from an outsider point of view to see the discussions happening amongst (presumably) real doctors on the photos, like being party to a conversation you’re not supposed to overhear. We’re used to seeing gross photos on the internet, but usually in places like Reddit or the old-school shock sites, where the comments are along the lines of “lol serves him right” or “I’d still tap that.” Seeing reasoned, academic discussion in a comment section is refreshing – and made me feel a bit like the kid still at school after everyone’s gone home. Like I shouldn’t really be there.
The Reply All podcast, where we found out about Figure 1, put it this way:
“Overhearing doctors is like overhearing soldiers, because you’re listening to a group of people who are acquainted with death regularly, and you’re listening to them as someone who just isn’t.
And that’s why as much as an app can be traumatic, Figure 1 is traumatic, because you’re getting a proxy experience of something you don’t have the training or the context to process.”
Exactly. So now we’ve had a good look and learnt about some of the grosser things that can happen to the human body, we’ll be deleting the app.
Thanks to Reply All for the heads up.
Main image: Figure 1 via Facebook.