Solutions for SMS-based patient care

@paul, @jblaya, @mogoodrich, @michael, or anyone else who might have suggestions,

Colleagues at Regenstrief are starting a project that will involve sending & tracking SMS (±email) messages to pregnant patients to assist in their maternal care. They have requirements that include case workers managing queues of patients/messages, tracking status & delivery of messages, running through messaging algorithms, and generating a dashboard of activity. It feels similar to RapidSMS, Vocera, etc. and also I figured folks like yourselves in the OpenMRS Community may have experience with SMS-based solutions like this and it would behoove my colleagues to look at existing solutions rather than re-inventing the wheel.

Other than RapidSMS, are their particular open-source solutions that come to mind when you hear about case workers delivering care via SMS to patients?

Thanks for any tips.

-Burke :burke:

We are talking with two groups that do this for Mozambique - Dimagi for Commcare and @ahabib at IRD Research. @ahabib, can you point us to the url you sent me with your open source mobile tools? I remember you were doing something with Bahmni and OpenSRP as well.

RapidSMS is now rapid Pro, which I’ve never used but have always meant to, and I believe Rowan is still working there.

There is also engageSPARK which provides a full IVR and SMS service, but are not open source.

Joaquin Blaya, PhD Head of Strategic Partnerships Email jblaya■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■■ Telephone +1 202 640 0275

Hi, How it would be like to use GCM.

Thanks. I know RapidSMS, but hadn’t seen RapidPro or engageSPARK.

Thanks for pointing out CommCare.

Thanks @nagu. I assume GCM refers to Google Cloud Messaging.

yes burke.

While our work isn’t strictly SMS-based, we have done some work to hook up OpenSRP (backed by OpenMRS) with Rapid Pro for SMS messaging for maternal care. In that scenario, the enrollment is done using OpenSRP (an Android app) but then reminders for follow-ups etc are generated via RapidPro…this is a work in progress and we’d be happy to share details. @maimoonak from our team is involved in this work and could provide details. The URL for OpenSRP is We’ve also done some work on similar lines using Telegram (granted that isn’t SMS) that @maimoonak can also shed more light on if that sounds like it could work.


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Rapidpro is really powerful tool that can not only intergrate with SMS services but can also help in scheduling and creating workflows which also involve calling a webservice and response parsing etc (please note that rapidpro is not SMS sender app rather a service that can integrate with SMS channels including clickatell, plivo, Kennel, an android app etc)…

This also allows you to integrate with Telegram app and then once connected you can use same flows for Telegram as well.

Rapidpro community forum is here!forum/rapidpro and documentation for what are features and how it can be used is here

Because Rapidpro is not an app that allows you manage data in the form of patients and encounters, therefore, we are using OpenSRP for registering patients, following up with them, creating our own custom UI and then scheduling and SMSing is on Rapidpro end (SMS part with rapipro is ‘Work In Progress’ because none of the services that rapidpro can integrate with were suitable/available for our country and we are using a local mobile operator)…

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Basing on what i saw in action during the OpenSRP sprint in Nairobi as they were integrating with Rapidpro, @burke you would be crazy if you do not first investigate the potential of Rapidpro! :smile:

I’m looking forward to implement SMS and IVR based patient care with OpenMRS.

Is anyone working in this direction??

I’m following up on this thread. Has anyone made any headway on using sms within openmrs? We’d like to be allow to allow patients to text us for they’re next appointment and last viral load result.

The Rapidpro suite looks powerful but quite complicated. It would be a lot for us take on supporting something like that internally. And there are a host of privacy issues we’d have to figure out if considered a host of rapidpro.

Any other alternatives actually being used in a production setting?