Privacy and Organization Using Spruce

  • Setting Up Your Spruce Account — Degrees of Privacy
  • Strict Privacy Setup
  • Moderate Privacy Setup
  • Privacy Light: Customization Without Restriction

  • Setting Up Your Spruce Account — Degrees of Privacy

    Spruce is a malleable product that allows our customers to create a system that perfectly suits their unique practice. Levels of privacy are a key aspect of customization and we want you to be aware of why and how to set this up in the way that works best for you! By default all conversations and contacts are accessible to everyone on your team. Please note when we are speaking of privacy we are talking about the structure of your one Spruce organization, which controls how your teammates within it access your data.

    Strict Privacy Setup

    If you would like clinicians or other teammates to have private conversations with patients that can only be seen by themselves, or by a select group of teammates, you will need to set up direct phone lines and direct Spruce links to accomplish this strict level of privacy control. We find this to be most common for our customers in the mental health field who may want to keep conversations private to just the clinician and the client when engaging in more clinical communication, while also being part of a group practices with multiple teammates. This also may be relevant for other specialties or healthcare businesses that may want to limit which additional staff or clinicians view specific conversations. This can also be relevant if a teammate's family member sees a clinician at the practice. Please read on to the next section if you want to learn how to make patient conversations only seen by select individuals. 

    Please note, for many practices, this type of strict privacy restriction is unnecessary, as unification and shared view of patient messages and contact information is helpful when running a practice as a team. As an alternative, we recommend customizing your inboxes to show what messages each teammate wants to see. Using tags or assignment can create organization while avoiding unwanted loss of visibility. If this sounds more like your practice, please scroll down to "Customization Without Restriction" below.

    Direct Phone Numbers and Spruce Links 

    If your practice is interested in strict privacy restrictions around conversations with patients you will need to set this up using direct phone numbers and Spruce links for each teammate. This article goes into detail on how to set this up and the implications you should be aware of in terms of loss of visibility for other teammates. One of the benefits of this setup is being able to have conversations auto-assign to specific teammates so that these appear automatically in their "Mine" or "Assigned to Me" mailboxes, and do not appear in the main "All" inbox. Being able to control auto-assignment as a user is a great feature that we've found to be very useful for many practices! If you would prefer a visual, this video walks you through the process of creating direct phone numbers and links:


    Other Use Cases for Creating Multiple Conversations 

    Many practices find that having multiple conversation threads for different purposes can help them to organize patient communication even when privacy is not the goal. For example, you might want to have a different Spruce link assigned to your billing team so that patients could reach out to them directly and these conversations could be auto-assigned to that team, rather than going to the All Inbox. In this instance you would want the billing team to be the "owner" of the Spruce link, but you might want the whole organization as an "additional internal member" so that visibility was not limited to that team.

    Moderate Privacy Setup

    It is also possible to create restrictions on who in your team can view specific Contacts. This feature, "Contact Membership," needs to be turned on for your organization by the Spruce Support team. We find that this is often most useful in cases in which some clinicians are contractors and should only be able to see contact demographic information for their own patients, or instances where one organization has multiple locations with different teams handling each and they want the other location's contacts totally hidden. This can also be useful on a one-off basis, for example if you have a celebrity patient and you want that contact hidden from anyone not involved in their care.

    Please note that organizational admins will always be able to find, view, and edit ALL contacts in the organization, regardless of membership settings, so be careful who you make an admin in your organization. You can read more about Contact Membership in this article.

    Another version of a Moderate Privacy Setup would involve creating teams to handle specific tasks and assigning conversations to those teams. This would hide those conversations from any users who did not have access to that team's assigned filter, but it would not remove the conversations from search results. This video shows you how to create filters using assignment.

    Privacy Light: Customization Without Restriction

    For many of our customers the goal is not to create strict privacy restrictions, but rather to create more organization and help their clinicians to stay focused on their own patient panels. In this case we recommend organizing using Contact Tags

    1. Log into Spruce on the web version, go to Contacts tab then to the All filter.
    2. Select patients that belong to a specific clinician by clicking on the icon next to their name.
    3. Select the tag icon (it will appear next to the "bulk invite" button at the top) 
    4. In the Add Tags field add an existing clinician tag or create a new one if this is for a new clinician
    5. Create an inbox filter for all messages tagged with this clinician tag:
      1. Go back to your Inbox tab and "Create Inbox Filter" under Inbox and add a tag rule.
      2. Create a filter by selecting "Contacts must be tagged with" "Any of" then enter the clinician tag you used
      3. This filter will now show you all unarchived conversations with these patients. New messages from these patients will automatically appear in your tag based filter, but this will not remove them from the main All Inbox (this is different from assignment).
    6. You can also create a Contact Filter under Contacts by selecting "Create Filter" and adding the tag rule; this will show you the list of patients, rather than the list of active conversations. This is also useful for bulk messaging!

    7. Admins can create these filters for their teammates as well as for themselves ( read more here)

    This video steps you through this process:

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