FrontlineSMS let users send, receive and manage SMS over a mobile network.

Hello everyone?
Am a newbie and would like some help with the following:
1)frontlineSMS retrieves patients with an appointment from mysql database
2)sends messages to everyone that has an appointment in form of a questionnaire some like: you have an appointment at clinic A today, will you come?
3)the patient should be able to reply with a yes or no option, if no then they should be able to select a reason from a drop down list or a radio list etc
4)the answer is sent back to the database via frontlineSMS

What I want to achieve is, the system should be able to communicate with our existing database and sending the messages should be automatic for people having an appointment that day.

anyone with an idea of how to go about it? or is there any other way of achieving the same goal?

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Replies to This Discussion

Welcome to the FrontlineSMS community. You've definitely come to the right place for help and I'm sure you'll meet some very helpful folks as you navigate the waters of FrontlineSMS (FLSMS).

While your project seems very interesting, there are several issues you need to deal with during your development and deployment. Let's look at each of those in a little detail:

1. FrontlineSMS doesn't do database record retreival directly. To do this, you use what's called 'external commands' and those are small programs like PHP scripts to which FLSMS passes data. These scripts then interact with the database and return data from the database to FLSMS, which then routes that message back to the user.

2. Right now, in the current version., this isn't possible. The current version of FLSMS will only interact with remote users after being prompted by receiving an SMS message from a user. Currently, FLSMS, has no way to initiate a message to a mobile phone. This functionality is coming in the future though so don't give up. It's right around the corner.

3. While FLSMS can definitely accept text input from users via regular SMS, the ONLY way to use a dropdown box is to instal FrontLineSMS Forms on the remote users phone. If you do not have access to their phone or they are not willing/able to install software on their mobile, you will only be able to interact with them via standard SMS.

Overall, as you can see, your project can be done but you might need to find workarounds or wait until the new FLSMS is out.

Hope this answers your questions and feel free to reach out if you need any help!

Anthony Papillion
Advanced Data Concepts / OpenEMR HQ, Inc.
Quick and very useful reply Anthony! I will try your suggestions and let you know what I come up with. Thanks a lot.

Hi Jamila,

The features you are describing aren't currently part of the FrontlineSMS platform, but a project I'm working with in Kenya is developing a module that would perform some of these tasks, and we'd be happy to share the code once it is ready. Anthony is right on regarding the second half of part 3). In order for clients to fill out a radio list with FrontlineSMS they would need to be using the FrontlineForms software. For a communication as simple as replying yes or no to an appointment reminder, you might want to consider asking them to just respond with the keyword yes or no in a plain SMS.

Out of curiosity, is your existing system commercial software, or something that your organization has built in-house?
Hi Isaac,
Thanks for the reply. What we have is a web based medical record systems and it is built in-house using .NET.

I think I would go with the yes or no keyword, I would not like to complicate patients lives more than it already is! But regarding that, I think it will be difficult for illiterate patients to either read or reply t the messages.

Thanks for your generosity and willingness to share out your codes. If there is anything I can do to help develop the module, please let me know(am not a java guru, in case you are using java, but am a very quick learner ) . In which part of Kenya are you if you dont mind me asking?



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