LEARNING ABOUT NEW BEAUTY TECH:
If there's a new technology out there to make our lives easier, I'm ALL for it! Lately, I've been on the hunt for new tools that will help with that quest :) It seems there are quite a few apps out there that maybe have the right idea, but they end of falling short; there are of course those too that want $$$ in exchange for their services- which in my opinion should really be free in most cases! That means there are a LOT of apps out there, but they may not be worth your time!
I made the choice to see for myself what some of the apps were about and started to try them out, research, and see what other people are saying about them as well. I thought it would be nice to share those experiences with you in hopes that I can prevent the time and frustration that can arise from just the sheer number of apps out there! That's how I arrived at finding this app- Spruce....
SO WHAT EXACTLY IS SPRUCE?
This is an absolutely fabulous idea and definitely one that I wish I'd thought of myself! The Spruce app actually connects you with a board-certified US dermatologist, but it doesn't end there; the dermatologist will then give you a professional diagnosis AND a treatment plan is included! The app itself is FREE and if you choose to "visit" the dermatologist, the cost is only $40. That's a lot cheaper than it is for most to walk in the actual office door, which makes this app a very cost-effective alternative!
HOW DOES SPRUCE APP WORK?
It's super easy to schedule a "visit"- once you've downloaded the app and created a free account, you then take pictures of you symptoms, answer some skin and medical history questions, and then wait for your board-certified dermatologist to respond within 24 hours. If you are given any prescriptions they are digitally sent to your preferred/local pharmacy, along with your treatment plan- which is also sent directly to you through the app!
The app allows you to message your doctor and care coordinator directly, on your own time too :) As for follow-up visits, those are provided to you for up to 30 days, and for additional charges you can extend those follow-ups. Prescriptions are however, NOT included in the cost of the visit, which means you are looking at an additional cost on top of the $40 for your visit.
You can use your insurance though for these medications when you pick them up at the pharmacy. If you don't have insurance, there's another option for you- let Spruce know and they will work with you and the doctor to try and find the most effective, more affordable options! I really like that Spruce has thought of this option, as it allows for those that may not have the $$$ to still get effective treatment.
If you're worried about how well the doctor can properly diagnose you with just pictures, Spruce has thought of that as well! They utilize the best in photo tech to make sure that the doctor does get the most accurate view of your issue. There's a decent list of treatable conditions in the app as well: Acne, Eczema, Hives, Psoriasis, Skin Discoloration, Rosacea, Rashes- just to name a few! There are more conditions that are also treated and you can see those in the app on the spruceheatlh.com site.
Overall, I LOVE the approach, idea, and execution of the app. I'd say that there a couple of minor drawbacks: firstly, it's only currently available in California, Florida, New York, and Pennsylvania-if you don't live in one of those states then you're out at the moment. However, the Spruce app is fairly new and promises to be expanding with "Don't worry- we'll be there soon" in response to being located somewhere else in their Q&A section on their site.Hopefully this does mean they'll be in a lot more areas in the near future.
The second drawback is that at this time, the app only offers the treatment of 19 conditions for your skin and there are quite a few more that have been left out. This is in part due to the fact that as the app explains, only certain conditions can be treated by telemedicine and that the current list is a result of careful choosing from Spruce's panel of board-certified dermatologists. It does have some limitations, but I def like where this app is headed.
If you have an Android device, this app is NOT available to you at this time :/ It's only available in the iTunes store at the moment, BUT I imagine this will change as the app continues to gain popularity. This limits the Spruce app to Apple devices only, which might be a drawback for many- but I'm certain they will be quick to change this as they will miss out on a lot of patients who have Android devices if they don't ;)
As for the positives, there are quite a few! For starters, you're going to save on the usual $100 + it might cost you to go to the Dermatologist office AND you won't have to deal with the time, gas, and additional effort it's going to cost you too!
WHERE YOU CAN FIND IT:
Spruce is currently holding a special LIMITED OFFER for 1st VISIT FREE- normally the cost of $40!!! There are some limitations to the free offer and it does expire by at least June 30, 2015; the $40 is credited to your account in full and can't be transferred, resold, or redeemed for $$$.