Frequently Asked Questions
Welcome! If you're thinking about using Spruce in your practice, and you want to learn more, the FAQs below can help. Our sales team is here to help if you have more questions. You can reach us at 1-608-422-4565 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
IN THIS ARTICLE
- Do patients need an app to text me?
- Does Spruce support fax?
- Do you offer a HIPAA-compliant phone line?
- Can I use Spruce for video calling?
- Do you offer HIPAA-compliant texting?
- Do you sign Business Associate Agreements (BAAs)?
- Does Spruce support email?
- What is the best way to get patients’ “stated preference” for SMS-based texting?
- Can I use Spruce on my computer?
- How do I listen to my voicemail?
- I’m adding an assistant to my practice — how does that work with my Spruce account?
- I’m adding another provider to my practice — how does that work with my Spruce account?
- Can I keep my current business phone number?
- What forms of telemedicine does Spruce support?
- How does porting a number work?
- How do I get started?
Do patients need an app to message me?
No, there are two ways for patients to message with providers on Spruce. They can either create a Spruce account from your invite on their phone or computer or they can send an SMS to your Spruce phone number, just like they would with any other number.
Both methods of message can be HIPAA-compliant (see our White Paper on the subject), so it is completely up to you and your patient as to which you both prefer.
Does Spruce support fax?
Yes, you can send and receive digital faxes with your Spruce account. We can provide you with a new fax number, or we can transfer your existing fax number over to your Spruce account. Spruce stores faxes in a HIPAA-compliant way in the app available on your computer or phone app. Learn more about how to use Spruce’s digital fax in here.
Do you offer a HIPAA-compliant phone line?
Standard telephone calls made via Spruce are compliant with the technical requirements of HIPAA, and Spruce stores any voicemails left for you in a way that is compatible with HIPAA.
Can I use Spruce for video calling?
Yes, Spruce supports HIPAA-compliant video calling between providers and patients. Once you’ve invited your patient to create their Spruce account through our app or their computer, and they’ve successfully created their account, you will have the option to start a video call with them.
As a provider, you can start a video call from your mobile app or desktop. Patients can receive video calls from their mobile apps or from their computer. They go to www.sprucehealth.com and click "Sign In."
Do you offer HIPAA-compliant texting?
Yes, Spruce actually supports two types of texting, both of which can be HIPAA-compliant:
On Spruce, you are able to invite patients to download the Spruce app or sign in online and message with you from within the application. This app-based form of texting (where both you and the patient are communicating within the Spruce app) is inherently secure and HIPAA-compliant.
Spruce also supports texting via standard SMS. In this case, the messages you send from your Spruce app are delivered to the patient as a traditional SMS. This SMS-based form of texting can be HIPAA-compliant, but this is situation-dependent. Inherently, SMS messaging is not guaranteed to be secure. However, if you have informed the patient of the risk and they have stated a preference for SMS-based texting over app-based texting, then you can continue to send those SMS-based texts while being compliant with HIPAA.
We have further discussion of SMS and email messaging on our blog if you want to learn more. Essentially, patient preference can be used to achieve compliance when uncontrollable technical limitations might otherwise prevent it.
Do you sign Business Associate Agreements (BAAs)?
Yes, we offer a BAA to any organization who needs one under HIPAA. You electronically agree to our BAA when you create your Spruce account and agree to our provider terms.
Does Spruce offer email?
You can email patients via Spruce if that’s their preferred method of communication. Similar to SMS messaging, in order to be HIPAA-compliant, you may need to inform the patient of the security limitations of email and ensure their preference for its use. Find out more about how to do so on our blog.
What is the best way to get patients’ “stated preference” for SMS-based texting?
Can I use Spruce on my computer?
Yes, you and your patients can log into Spruce via your computer’s web browser. You can also use Spruce on your smartphone (iOS or Android). You use the same username (your email address) and password on the mobile app as you do when logging in on the web.
From the web, go to https://app.sprucehealth.com and click on "Log in to existing account" to access your inbox.
How do I listen to my voicemail?
Spruce acts as your all-in-one inbox. This means that, in addition to calls and texts, voicemails are also captured and stored in your Spruce inbox, accessible via both the mobile app and the desktop app.
When a patient calls and leaves a message, it will appear in the standard patient conversation that is associated with the patient’s phone number, along with any other calls or messages that you have exchanged with the patient. You can play the voicemail or opt to read its automatic transcription, if you have that feature turned on.
When using your Spruce Number, voicemails will no longer be captured on your personal mobile phone or desk phone. All communication is consolidated into the Spruce app, where it is stored securely.
I’m adding an assistant to my practice — how does that work with my Spruce account?
Spruce is perfect for teams — it was designed with team collaboration in mind and allows everyone to access the same shared inbox. If you are adding an administrative assistant to your practice, you can invite them to join you on Spruce as a teammate. This will allow them to receive and make calls on your behalf (e.g., while you are in an appointment), as well as to read and send messages to clients on your behalf.
I’m adding another team member to my practice — how does that work with my Spruce account?
When adding a second provider, therapist, or other clinical team member to your practice, you have two options for how your new team member uses Spruce. They can either sign up and create their own organization on Spruce, or they can join your existing organization as your teammate.
Creating their own organization on Spruce
With this option, your new provider starts their own Spruce organization, completely separate from yours. They will have their own Spruce phone number and will manage their own list of patient conversations. The main downside to this option is that you won’t be able to access their list of clients or use their Spruce number, as you’ll be on separate accounts.
Having said that, you will still be able to "cover" each other on call by forwarding your Spruce Number to their number, and vice versa. You won’t, however, be able to read each other’s secure messages or listen to voicemails left for the each other.
Joining your organization as a teammate
With this option, your new provider will be added to your team as a teammate. You will be able to view and communicate with each other's patients (if necessary), message each other securely, assign each other tasks, and share internal notes with each other.
This option also allows you to share the same Spruce number, or your new provider could have their own.
Can I keep my current business phone number?
Yes, we will happily transfer an existing phone number to Spruce. This transfer process is commonly known as “porting” your number. We can port numbers from other carriers (e.g., AT&T or Verizon) or app-based services (e.g., Google Voice or phone.com). During the transfer process, you won’t lose any connectivity to your phone.
Once you have checked out for a paid account, you will have the opportunity to kick off the porting process via an email from our team. You can also contact us via Spruce Support within the app to request a port at any time.
What forms of telemedicine does Spruce support?
In addition to video calls, you can also send patients " Spruce Visits." We currently only support one to one video calls and don't have the abilities for group video or screen share.
Spruce Visits are secure, adaptive clinical questionnaires that collect complaint-specific history and physical exam information. They can be used for many common medical purposes, including new patient intake, remote management of routine conditions, and follow-up. Once a patient has completed a Spruce Visit, you will be notified and can review their answers in your own time.
How does porting a number work?
Once you have begun a paid plan, you will have the opportunity to request a “port” — the process of transferring your existing number to Spruce — via an email or an in-app message from our team. You can also contact us via Spruce Support within the app to request a port at any time.
To complete a port, you’ll need to fill out a small amount of paperwork that we will provide to your existing carrier to authorize the transfer. Approximately a week after submitting that paperwork, we will be in touch to confirm the date of your port. Ports are usually scheduled 2 to 3 weeks in advance.
On the day of your port, the porting process will take 1 to 2 hours. During the entire porting process, you won't lose any connectivity to your patients — phone calls and messages will simply transition from your old carrier to Spruce with no downtime. After the port is completed, we'll test your number by texting and calling to make sure that everything was transferred smoothly.
How do I get started?
Just create an account on Spruce (on your phone or on your computer) and you'll automatically be started in a 14-day trial, no credit card required. Once you've created an account, you'll see the Team Spruce Support conversation in your inbox.
You can test our the features for a bit or if you want to start your subscription, head to your billing page in settings or click here to enter your credit card details. The billing won't start until the end of the trial but this way you don't have to risk losing access to your account at the end of the trial (our plans are month-to-month with no obligations or taxes or additional fees).
How to cancel your trial or account?
Your trial will automatically end after the trial is complete unless you entered your credit card so there is no need to do anything. If you have entered credit card information during the trial or are a customer and wish to discontinue services, you can message into Spruce Support in app to cancel.