Internews Center for Innovation & Learning

Internews Center for Innovation & Learning
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RapidSMS is a customized mHealth platform developed for the Millennium Villages Project with support from the UNICEF Innovation Group. RapidResponse uses SMS text messages to facilitate and coordinate the activities of field based health care providers, usually community health care workers (CHWs). Using simple text messages, CHWs are able to register patients and send in health reports to a central web dashboard that allows a health team to closely monitor the health of their community. Powerful messaging features help facilitate communication between the members of the health system and an automated alert system helps reduce gaps in treatment.

Because one size does not fit all, the RapidSMS framework was designed to be customized for specific use-cases. While there are increasingly preconfigured applications being created for RapidSMS, most field programming will continue to benefit from applications designed specifically to meet the needs and demands of their stakeholders.
The technology behind RapidSMS is the simple part. However, deploying RapidSMS successfully as a key component of larger communications or data collection systems takes careful planning and good coding. It is generally recommended that a field program manager with RapidSMS implementation experience work closely with software developer(s) to ensure applications are appropriately designed the first time around.
(from the RapidSMS website


Available expertise: 

Anahi Ayala Iacucci

Key Features: 
Sends SMS messages through a computer.
Global Issues: 
Suitable for: 
large amount o incoming and outgoing SMS; Structured data; standards and alerts systems
Not suitable for: 
Projects where there is no tech support on the ground; as an "out of the box" technology
Time commitment: 
High: the software needs to be installed and customized on a server
Technical expertise needed: 
Cost considerations: 
The software is free and open source, but costs associated with the technical support needs to be considered
Best Practices: 
RapidSMS is appropriate for: When you need a large-scale (enterprise) solution Collected data can be accessible to many people in many locations via the internet Thousands of users can interact with your system simultaneously When you need a customizable solution Certain actions can be triggered in specific circumstances RapidSMS can integrate with existing software tools and services When you need a robust solution Thousands of users can interact with your system simultaneously Collected data is constantly available via the internet When your end users only have very basic phones (text/voice) End users do not need “smartphones” or Java-enabled phones or computers to interact with RapidSMS When you want a scalable solution A single RapidSMS system can handle one village or one country RapidSMS can use GSM modems for small volumes and can integrate with mobile network operators or 3rd party solutions for large volumes.