Social applications leverage the network structure of the Internet to connect people, places, and media. Over the last decade, we’ve seen the origination and maturation of these services, from Facebook to Twitter to Reddit to Tumblr to many more.
At the same time, we’ve wondered what lessons and use cases of these applications, particularly the primacy of their mobile sharing experiences, would spill over into other disciplines. And, when they did, what those new services and apps would look like.
For the past few years, USV has looked hard at how these examples might impact the healthcare system and sharing of medical knowledge. How, using the Internet network, you could connect every healthcare professional and by doing so, democratize access to medical knowledge. Human Dx, which USV invested in last winter, is attempting to do this through open machine learning.
Figure 1, a medical photo and information sharing app that allows health-care professionals to collaborate with and tap into their peers’ knowledge, is another. In a little over a year since this mobile-only service launched, over 125,000 medical professionals, including over 15% of all U.S. based medical students at over 100 medical schools, have have used the service or shared images, which have been viewed 100,000,000 times and commented on over 60,000 times. The company has already seen this result in the crowdsourced assistance of diagnosis of rare diseases.
This is an initial step in making the practice and learning of medicine into a more communal experience, by allowing medical professionals to share with their colleagues (and the world). One that we think will ultimately will be defined by a free, open access medical repository that any health care professional can contribute to and can comment on. Millions of assets, shared, collated and curated, by the greater medical community itself, via their mobile devices.
USV is pleased to announce that we are leading a Series A investment in Figure 1 today, joined by Rho Canada Ventures and Version One Ventures. We look forward to helping this team grow a free, open access medical repository that any healthcare professional in the world can contribute to and learn from.