[tabs tab1=”Messaging” tab2=”Database & Group Management” tab3=”Reporting & Administrative” layout=”horizontal”]
|Text Blasting/Bulk Messaging||Simple, one-way text messages are sent to a list of recipients. This feature is useful for public health alerts or health education campaigns. Requires minimal or no customizability.
Two-Way Text Messaging
The capability to send messages and receive text message responses is available in SMS systems.
|Tailored or Personalized Text Messages||A personalized message feature enables you to autoreply to a response with a tailored message making the message more relevant or targeted to the recipient. This feature can require more customizability and possibly the ability to interface with EHR systems and databases.
Short Messaging Service (SMS)-to-email/email-to-SMS
This feature allows SMS communication between the sender of a message and recipient’s email. This is useful for people who would rather receive or send information via email.
|Short Messaging Service (SMS)-to-email/email-to-SMS||This feature allows SMS communication between the sender of a message and recipient’s email. This is useful for people who would rather receive or send information via email.|
|Short Codes||Common short codes are numbers used for sending and receiving texts. They allow rapid, high-volume outbound messaging. These codes are normally 5-6 digits, so they are easy to read and remember, allowing the receivers of a text to more easily identify the sender. It is not necessary to have a short code, but they are available for lease from the Common Short Code Administration for $500-$1000 per month or they may be obtained through a text messaging vendor.|
|Long Codes||A long code is a 10-digit local number from which SMS messages are sent. They can be obtained from an SMS service provider. In some cases long code may be preferable to short code because they can be either leased or owned, which can reduce cost and allow for repeated use of the code. Furthermore, a local phone number may be more identifiable to the recipient, and some cell phone providers may block messages sent from short codes. Low to medium service fees.|
|Automated Response||A response system sends out an automated response or series of responses to an incoming SMS message. Various options for tailored automated responses include keyword response, personalized response, and scheduled response. This feature requires variable degrees of customizability, depending on the type of response.|
|Keyword Response||Text message response options include keywords. Automated responses are then sent to recipients according to the keyword they return in their response. Incoming keywords may be in response to a marketing campaign, a reply to a text message, or a request for more information. For example, an incoming text message with a keyword such as “INFO” might generate an automatic response with information. Requires a minimal amount of customizability.|
|Conditional Branch Logic||Conditional branch logic is a software feature that allows for keyword and automated responses based on a predefined algorithm. It recognizes incoming response types and sends appropriate messages according to what is indicated in the logic. This is a feature requires a moderate amount of customization.|
|Tailoring by Group||Recipients may be divided into groups, and tailored messages can be sent to each of those groups. Recipients might be grouped according to sex, location, demographics, or other characteristics. A moderate amount of customization is needed for this feature.|
|Message Scheduling / Staggering||Out-going messages may be scheduled to be sent at specified times or time increments. This feature is valuable for reminders and behavior modification programs and usually requires a small amount of customizability.|
|Multimedia Message Service (MMS)||Messages sent via MMS may include photos or videos, graphics, and texts longer than the standard 160-character limit of normal SMS messages. However, MMS is not compatible with all cell phones and costs for sending MMS messages is higher than for sending SMS messages.|
|Active Links||URL links that direct recipients to a website may be included in the text. This can be used to minimize the inclusion of protected health information in a text message, direct people to a survey or personal health record, or provide access to additional information than what can be sent in a text message.|
|Voting and Polling||Polls can be created and sent via text message. Recipients may respond to multiple-choice answers either by numeric or alphabetic response. Polling can be useful for collecting qualitative or quantitative data, and for gathering general information about a group of people. This feature requires minimal customization.|
|Automatic Stop Function||This feature allows end users to opt-out by sending the keyword “STOP” if they wish to stop receiving text messages from the sender.|
|Message Queuing||Messages may be sent in a predetermined order, with verification that a message was completed before sending a subsequent message. This requires minimal customizability.|
|Unicode Support||This feature accommodates messages in any language using proper characters and formatting, such as French, Japanese, English, or Arabic.|
|Opt-out/Opt-in (subscription) Management||Text messaging lists require updating to include new subscribers and delete subscribers who wish to opt-out and not receive future text messages. Different text messaging platforms may offer varying capabilities and options for the updating of recipient lists. Researchers may choose between an opt-out or an opt-in system based on their project goals, institutional policies, and institutional review board guidelines.
Ability for Multiple Groups
Most text messaging platforms offer unlimited recipient lists and the creation of multiple recipient groups to assist with messaging management. This feature requires minimal customizability.
|End User Web Portal Access||Portal access for recipients allowing the ability to subscribe to text messaging campaigns or programs via a webpage with any standard browser.
Integration with Other Information Systems
Text messaging platforms generally have the ability to upload lists of names, cell phone numbers, and other data from outside programs such as Excel or Outlook. Some text messaging platforms can integrate with EHRs, but this is relatively new and is best discussed with the particular EHR vendors. Integration with programs such as Excel requires only minimal customization, while interface with EHRs requires a high degree of customization and security measures.
|Integration with Other Information Systems||Text messaging platforms generally have the ability to upload lists of names, cell phone numbers, and other data from outside programs such as Excel or Outlook. Some text messaging platforms can integrate with EHRs, but this is relatively new and is best discussed with the particular EHR vendors. Integration with programs such as Excel requires only minimal customization, while interface with EHRs requires a high degree of customization and security measures.|
|Backup System||It is important to have a back-up system for stored data. Data may be backed up on a vendor server or on an internal server.|
|Master Account With Sub-Accounts||Some systems offer user accounts under a master account to allow for multiple projects or message administrators.|
|Text Message Statistic Recording||Many text messaging systems provide data such as audit logs of messages sent, declined or undeliverable (bounce) reports, opt-out reports, and demographics and behavioral data regarding use. This type of information can be important to researchers who need to track the results of track messaging interventions. This feature requires minimal customization.|
|Exportability of Data||Data and message statistics may be exported to outside applications such as Excel. More complex systems may have advanced software and security measures for research data capture, storage, and interface with databases or analysis software. The amount of customization required for this feature will vary according to the type of system you wish to interface with.|
|Usage Metering||Usage metering provides convenient information regarding important usage data, which may be valuable for designing and monitoring systems.|