Figure 1 App Review

Figure 1 IconIt’s been a long time since I reviewed an app, but the one that I have been meaning to for the last year has been called Figure 1. (Free)

To sum it up succinctly, it’s Instagram for medical doctorsCreated by Dr. Joshua Landy, a critical care doctor, it’s a mobile platform that allows medical images to be shared for educational purposes. It has recently received $4M in Series A funding led by Union Square Ventures, and there are constantly new features coming out that are promising.

At the heart of it, Figure 1 lets health care professionals do something they have been already doing better, share medical photos. From interesting xrays and ECGs to strange rashes and sometimes gory pathology, Figure 1 is also a community where people can comment and teach around these images.

It also addresses the concerns of patient privacy, by letting users de-identify images with black markers and boxes before they are uploaded. There’s also a built-in feature where you can ask for patient consent before uploading.

The interface is clean and simple. In the last year that I have been using this app, there has been tremendous growth and improvements. Over 100,000 health care professionals are in the community, and the interface has become better and better


There’s also a feature where you can browse through a series of image. In this case a CT scan of the abdomen uploaded by penguinophile (who has many excellent radiology images) is posed as a question. The most interesting part is often the discussion that takes place and the educational experience of learning in a community.

Anatomical Specialty

You can also browse by anatomical location or specialty if there are areas that interest you.

User Profile

Finally, the community is what makes Figure 1 unique and having a platform for users to upload images interact is what really drives the app. Pictured here is my profile and some of the pictures I have collected over the years. As you can see, you can have your profile verified for credibility.

I look forward to the many coming features including customized feeds depending on specialties and users, and better notification systems.

Join me on Figure 1 – a free medical image library for healthcare professionals. To sign up, visit:

N.B. – I am part of Figure 1’s beta testers, and have used a referral link in this post. 

How to Pack a Suit for CaRMS Part 2


I’m on the interview trail for my MSM (Medicine Subspecialty Match) for CaRMS. I’m starting to realize… the interviews never end. You just get more specialized and specific with each one. Medical school, residency, fellowship…. then jobs… Nevertheless, I would like to think I got better at packing and travelling over the years, even though I do a lot less of it now. I stumbled upon a great tutorial from Business Insider on how to pack your garments and  keep everything pretty much wrinkle free. I was quite happy with the results. Three years ago, I wrote a post on various ways to pack a suit in a carry on. I think I’m going to use this method for the next little bit. To those who are also on CaRMs travels, good luck. For those who are about to begin (4th year medical students), enjoy the process!

The Shortlist – Respirology vs Critical Care


I’ve been busy these last few months, and what’s currently pre-occupying me is applying for fellowships.

I remember putting together a shortlist of specialties that I wanted to do in 1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year medical school, as well as subspecialties of internal medicine in first and second year residency.

I finally narrowed it down to two specialties that I really enjoyed – respirology and critical care, but in the end, I only applied to respirology – also known as pulmonology for my American readers.

It wasn’t an easy decision to forgo critical care. In fact, if they had the combined respirology / critical care fellowships in Canada like they do in the USA, I would have done it in a heartbeat. When I was a third year medical student, I did an ICU elective that solidified my interest in internal medicine. I loved the complexity, the physiology, the need to integrate broad fields of knowledge to make a difference and save lives. It also helped that I was pretty good at doing procedures and became quite comfortable putting in chest tubes and central lines. It was life and death situations and being there for patients and families in poignant and life-changing moments.

Fast forward to residency and I found I still very much enjoyed critical care. I enjoyed carrying the code team pager and found resuscitation and leading a well run team to be exhilarating.  I was touched by the patients I encountered and the dedication their families had for them when they were critically ill. But I also realized that loving what you do is not everything there is to a career. For everything that you invest time in, you must also consider what you may be sacrificing. My decision was also helped out with the fact that I liked respirology just as much.

On the surface, respirology and critical care share many common attributes. The airway and oxygenation physiology is a key subject in both. There are procedures in both specialties and a good breadth of practice in both, with perhaps critical care requiring a wider base of knowledge. But when you start practicing, you realize the day-to-day is intrinsically different.

In respirology, you see a wide breadth of ages and acuity of illnesses. You may see a young man with a new diagnosis of mild asthma, and in the same day see a patient with pulmonary fibrosis who is pre-transplant and waiting for lungs. You get to talk to patients and get to know them, and follow and treat them for years. It’s a good mix of clinics, procedures and inpatient consultations. And you can have a fulfilling career that won’t involve you being in-hospital call and answering pages overnight.

I ended up talking to fellows and staff physicians in both specialties. I even talked to staff that practiced both respirology and critical care. The reality these days is it’s hard to practice both, especially since critical care has matured into its own specialty rightfully so. There really is too much to know to be good at both. Most respirologists who work in the ICU have given up their respirology practice.

Furthermore, I talked to fellows who were on their second fellowship or in the middle of their PhD. The job situation is a lot tighter in critical care, as you need to find a unit to be tied to, and it has to be big enough to be financially feasible. Many told me, “if you like any other specialty as much, you should go do that instead.”

It’s these combination of factors that have made me apply solely to respirology. I am happy with my choice. I do have moments where I wish I could go work in the ICU from time to time. But I don’t think I’ll mind having my evenings and most of my weekends free from work. I’ve been told I could pursue a critical care fellowship afterwards, but would I want to do more training after being a trainee for over a decade?

So that is my shortlist for now. Just respirology. I hope I get accepted to my program of choice. If so, tune in for the next edition of the shortlist: respirology subspecialties.

Photocredit : lisabuddka (CC)

Under Pressure

atlas final

The weight of residency has been hitting hard lately. It’s akin to Atlas trying to hold up the world with his might but struggling. Struggling to find the time and energy to keep my life balanced. CaRMS fellowship applications are starting. There has been a flurry of activity in my personal life. Only thing I can do is keep my head up and dig deep to find strength. (Photo)