HYDERABAD: While I was in medical school,” begins Dr Deepu Sebin, “we studied using clinical cases. We were actually paying medical journals to share cases, which are mostly print-only. So we built an online platform where we could continue referring to past and current cases.” A year ago Dr Sebin stopped practising, so as to devote his entire time to Daily Rounds, the app his team developed.
An academic network of doctors for sharing clinical cases, the Bengaluru-based doctor, shares that Microsoft Venture-accelerated Daily Rounds is India’s largest network of doctors with 1,86,000 members. “You could call it ‘Quora for doctors’,” says Dr Sebin, adding, “We have in-depth discussions on Daily Rounds, so it works best for specialists. Almost 480 doctors joining us every day.” When swine flu broke out in the county, Dr Sebin shares that theirs was the first group to send out an India-specific notification.
An app similar to homegrown-Daily Rounds entered India early this year. Co-founded Dr Joshua Landy who studied at Stanford - Figure 1 connects healthcare professionals in more than 100 countries. One of the first users of Figure 1, Dr Harshvardhan Chaukulkar first used the app a few years ago.
“People are using this photo-based app all over the world; this is where ideas converge and it’s very fascinating to see how a particular problem is approached by doctors in other countries. You can get feedback and opinions from verified physicians within a few hours,” elaborates the Pune-based doctor, adding that the app has recently – added a new feature – paging. “That lets doctors know if there’s a priority case,” he says. A single-port appendectomy (as opposed to the conventional three-port method) and rare cases of bone tumours are some of the conditions he’s shared via the app. “My graphic images are the most shared. I shared a photo of Fournier gangrene (it effects the male genitalia) and people were interested because this is not commonly seen in the US or the UK,” he says. Since these apps comply with privacy laws, patient-privacy doesn’t raise a red flag.
Besides doctors, Dr Chaukulkar recommends Figure 1 to medical students. “It’s a good learning tool because of the constant addition of cases, but it’s not like the ‘Instagram for the medical profession’,” he explains. Dr Sebin also uses epocrates, a medical reference app that specialises in drugs. Adds Dr Chaukulkar, “There’s also DocNexus, but that’s more of a forum for doctors, and isn’t as structured and organised like Figure 1. Another app, Medscape, is more of an updated encyclopedia; it doesn’t allow you to interact with anyone.” In the near future, he hopes that these apps also facilitate video-conferencing “to help if someone needs a specialist’s views during a surgery”.