A new social media platform called Figure1 is being described as “Instagram For Doctors.” Here you will find a pharmacist’s perspective on this innovative resource.
Authored By: Timothy Gauthier, Pharm.D., BCPS-AQ ID
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Figure1 is an image-centric social media platform founded in 2013 that is designed to be a place for current and future healthcare practitioners to interact. For simplicity sake many have described it as “Instagram for doctors”, however it is more like “Instagram on steroids for physicians, nurses, pharmacists and more.”
I first heard about Figure1 from one of my pharmacy students in 2014, who excitedly described this new app his friends and him had started using. Being interested in the use of social media as a mechanism for delivering medical education, I signed up. I have not been disappointed.
Figure1 allows us to see things we otherwise would not and learn from real life cases while interacting with the people encountering the case. For example, you may have read that propofol can color urine green, but have you ever seen it? A quick search on Figure1 and now you have multiple images and cases to interact with.
The potential for inter-professional education and collaboration on Figure1 is profound. With a community of users from around the globe representing various healthcare professions, the platform allows people to share their ideas and experiences in an open forum.
Given that pharmacists and pharmacy students may benefit from joining the Figure1 community, I am encouraging others in my profession to explore this novel platform. As you investigate Figure1, here are 5 things to note.
- Figure1 is free and it protects patient privacy
- Pharmacy students and pharmacists can benefit from using Figure1
People in the pharmacy profession possess essential patient care knowledge, which if shared, may serve to benefit others. By spreading the word about those clinical pearls that make us more effective in our work, we can enable others to benefit from what we have learned. Simultaneously, much can be gained from reading the content other healthcare professionals post, as they share their knowledge and experiences.
- There are already over 1,000,000 healthcare professionals and students on Figure1
The Figure1 community is large and still growing. People from more than 100 countries are now able to join in the conversation. Having such a large number of users allows for great diversity in cases and access to people from many specialties or subspecialties.
- Some Figure1 images may be more graphic than you would prefer to see
In medicine there is no part of the human body that is ignored. While in my experience using Figure1 most images are easy to stomach, I have encountered a few images that others may not want to view.
Additionally related to this point, you may want to avoid using Figure1 in a public place where others can see your screen. Indeed you may get some strange looks if others see you scrolling through pictures of necrotic wounds or children with rashes.
- Not everything on Figure1 is a fact
It is fair to assume that other users have good intentions as they post their opinions and ideas, but remember that this is not peer-reviewed material. There are mechanisms in place within Figure1 that allow other community members to “vote down” inappropriate or incorrect comments, but even still I have seen a few completely incorrect comments “voted up.” It is important to keep this in mind as you use Figure1.
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