Standard Conversations

IN THIS ARTICLE

Introduction to Standard Conversations

Spruce lets you communicate with patients in two ways. Secure Conversations include activity that takes place entirely within the Spruce app, including secure messages and video calls. Standard Conversations include activity that goes outside the app. Standard Conversations include SMS text messages, phone calls, voicemail, email, and fax. Even though you may initiate these types of communication from within the Spruce app, remember that they may go outside the app on the receiving end. For example, when you send a text message from the Spruce app, it appears on the patient's phone like a regular text message. 


Starting a Standard Conversation from the web

Here are the steps to start a new Standard Conversation and send an initial text message from the web:

1
Select the Plus + Icon on the left side of the screen
2
Input the patient's name and phone number
3
Select Create Conversation
4
Select SMS at the bottom of the screen
5
Compose your message
6
Select Send


Starting a Standard Conversation from the mobile app

Here are the steps to start a new Standard Conversation and send an initial text message from the mobile app:

1
Select the Plus + Icon on the bottom right corner
2
Select Patient Conversation
3
Input the patient's name and phone number
4
Select Create from the top right corner
5
Select SMS at the bottom of the screen
6
Compose your message
7
Select Send


Sending attachments in Standard Conversations

You can send photos, videos, and PDFs to patients in Standard Conversations by selecting the Plus + Icon at the bottom of the screen when composing a patient message. Spruce supports file types PNG, JPEG, and PDF as attachments.

NOTE: Spruce Visits, Care Plans, and payment requests can only be sent in Secure Conversations. To exchange secure messages, your patient will need to download the Spruce App and set up an account.


Maintaining HIPAA compliance 

When you check out for a paid Spruce plan and sign a Business Associate Agreement (BAA) with Spruce, any communication that occurs entirely on Spruce (e.g., app-to-app messaging with providers or patients, telemedicine within a secure messaging thread) is inherently secure, encrypted, and compliant with the technical requirements of HIPAA.

While Standard Conversations include communication that goes outside the Spruce app, you can still maintain HIPAA compliance with standard SMS text messages, phone calls, faxes, and email as long as (1) the patient is made aware that standard messaging has security vulnerabilities and (2) you offer a secure communication alternative (like secure messaging). Please take a look at our White Paper on HIPAA compliance to learn more. 

At the end of the white paper, you will find a template that you can use with patients in the office to document their written consent for using Standard Conversations to communicate with your practice.

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