Who has time to go to a dermatologist anymore, anyway?

Christina Drill
September 26, 2014

Designed by Spruce, a healthcare startup that understands the need for easier, quicker, more digestible options to keeping yourself healthy, has created an app that helps users treat their acne without having to go directly to a dermatologist.

With the Spruce app, users don't make an appointment to see a a doctor. They simply fill out a survey about their skin condition and medical history and attach photos of the area that needs treatment. Within twenty four hours or less, a board-certified dermatologist reviews the patient's symptoms and develops a personalized treatment plan, which includes instructions on how to treat the acne as well as a prescription for topical medication.

Ray Bradford, the founder of Spruce, left his job at Kleiner Perkins because he wanted to create something simple and easy for the digitally medical age. Spruce doesn't aim to be a replacement for going to the doctor for a visit, rather it aims to be an alternative or "first-step" approach to receiving healthcare faster and easier. Unlike an in-person appointment with a doctor, where everything is decided on on the spot, Spruce allows you to log your symptoms for a doctor to then evaluate and, later, respond. The best part is the price-- it's significantly cheaper than booking an appointment, and offers a flat rate of $40 for the consultation and the diagnosis.

The app has garners praise from Wired and PSFK for its intuitiveness. Wired says:

"Spruce does a remarkable job of taking something that could easily feel weird and making it feel very normal. The app is just as intuitive as Lyft or Yelp, except that instead of getting a ride or a restaurant you end up with a little tub of prescription-strength Benzoyl peroxide."

Spruce started with acne because it is an easily treatable condition that millions of Americans have, but Bradford says he plans to extend beyond just treating acne. He told Wired, "We see technology complementing the doctor, not competing with or replacing the doctor... it's how you let doctors do what they do best—which is using their judgment, and caring for patients—as opposed to repetitive, rote things, or administrative paperwork.”

Imagine never having to sit in a doctor's office and/or awkwardly chat with one again! Spruce, you are the future.

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