Tackling the Opioid Crisis with the Simplicity of SMS Text!

This project (in many forms) is being piloted at various health and human service agencies (211, I&R and community impact programs) and we're very excited about how much impact this can/will have!  This project was fundamentally designed to offer the very best of PreventionPays including options for live, two-way support, and integration with your CRM (Client Resource Management Solution), so that, as referrals are identified within your CRM, they can be automatically extracted from there and sent to the end user's mobile device and this is completely seamless to the end user!  If you don't use a CRM and simply want to partner with agencies that do, please reach out! We want to hear from you! There are many layers to this work and will require partnerships across all sectors of the help-seeking ecosystem.  This project will provide addresses/links to the most current, vetted resources in closest proximity to the individual's mobile device! 

Are you interested in partnering with an agency from your local community? Email info@preventionpaystext.com and in the subject line, send "Opioid Text Project"!

GOALS:

1. Reduce harm/death from opioid/drug addiction!

Outcomes will be tracked and self-evident through the follow-up work with individuals that text the service.

AIMS

10% of the population in the target zone text the helpline.

50% of those that seek help, will follow through with the resources/help.

50% of those that follow through with the help will report they continue to receive ongoing support with meetings and other suggestions (as identified by the partner agencies and content curators).

The project is two-fold: marketing website updates/banners/messages/PSAs/Press Release/Local News and the text message program/sms mapping and opt-in protocols

Marketing:

Web banners for partner, community agency websites

School-based programs work really well; posters, brochures, take-away cards strategically placed in public/private spaces will encourage use of the text program.

Add posters and take-away cards in schools and community venues at little to no cost!

Text Module:

End user texts keyword to short code to begin automated Q&A to obtain end users' risk level and then provide end user with recs for treatment/support. (support also available for friends and family so that everyone in the community can gain something from texting the service! We are all impacted by addiction.

End user will get an automated survey querying for zip, county, age of individual that is seeking help.

End user will select whether they need long-term care w/ detox or short term care w/ detox or detox only.

This will trigger referrals to resources that are closest to them according to their need.

After the referrals are delivered, there is a follow-up text letting them know they can call 211 or text their zip code for more support.

5-7 days later:  You requested help with “short-term care w/ detox” for yourself or a loved one. Did you find the information helpful? 

Did you or your loved one enter treatment?

Please remember, 211 (or named agency) is here for you! if you need more assistance or would like to talk with someone at 211, please call 211 or text your zip code at any time.

Then, one week later: We’re thinking about you! We know seeking help for yourself is an emotional and difficult matter. We want to help. 

If you want someone to talk to, call us or just text us and you’ll get a live response from one of our call specialists!

Then, 1-2 weeks later survey:

Did you make contact with the help you were given?

yes responses

Would you like a list of AA meetings for your area?  Per request send additional tips/resources and statements of encouragement/hope etc. 

no responses

Are you still looking for help with short-term care plus detox?

yes responses

Set a time to call or text with a Specialist

no responses

Please make sure to check with us. We realize there are several barriers to getting help. Please call us or text us so we can help you.

Evaluation:

The survey data and outcome data will be prepared in a formal document to be shared with participating agencies and funders. 

Project aims and protocols will be published for replication/uses in other regions/states.

Goal:  Reduce harm and cultivate better health outcomes! Present this project at conferences!

Interested in learning more about this project and others like it? email opioidtext@ustxt211.org

Want to partner? email opioidtext@ustxt211.org

2-1-1 and Enterprise Text Messaging on 898211

Text message I&R services and regional community alerts are helping change the 211 landscape through increased capacity, efficiency and expanded reach to underserved populations and the ever-growing population of individuals who prefer text for their primary channel. 211s and blended sites (crisis/I&R) are finding text is quickly becoming their most important communication platform in their suite of services.  PreventionPays Text and 898211 (aka TXT211) offer 211s a web-based texting platform built for 211 services and is understood as such by all mobile carriers in the US. In addition to text based I&R and regional alerts, 211s on 898211 are demonstrating increased capacity and efficiency in the following ways:

  • I&R Specialists manage multiple sms encounters simultaneously
  • Phone-2-Text Referrals to one or more callers
  • Regional alerts to entire populations by zip code or other program keyword
  • Automate triage for more qualified encounters
  • Conduct fully automated follow-ups to obtain survey data and other information often required by their funders
Text your zip code to 898211 and see if your 211 is textable!

Text your zip code to 898211 and see if your 211 is textable!

The service can save staff time and curtail missed calls.  Traditional telephone support requires a 1-to-1 responder to client ratio, whereas 898211 has demonstrated instances where a single specialist is managing 5+ encounters concurrently.  Adding text will help with declining voice call volumes because more clients are texting 211. Text will increase response times due to the unique nature of sms communication; the natural ebb and flow of sms dialogue is synergistic with the I&R service delivery paradigm. Text will also open the door to new funding sources, as we will discuss further in this post.

What does this mean to your 211?

Adding text is a simple solution that will change how your 211 contact center operates. With the addition of texting, your resources are instantly mobilized.  Texting opens channels to grant dollars for government and local initiatives pertaining to group specific health programs, and disaster relief services e.g. veterans, youth, deaf and hard of hearing, and homeless to name just a few.  As a backup to 911 during disasters, and a conduit for rapid communications on behalf of federal agencies like HRSA, CDC, FEMA it’s imperative 211 maximize its reach to all demographics.  SMS reaches across all groups like no other communication channel and does not discriminate.  PreventionPays platform increases reach to many of the most disadvantaged and difficult to reach groups.  For many, their cell phone is their lifeline, the last link they have to human services.  898211 will increase responder efficiencies, while decreasing missed calls.  The system further supports fully automated follow-up surveys so that 211s can collect data required by their funders without having to expend precious staff time making calls to people who don’t answer their phones.  Your I&R specialists should be doing what they do best – linking individuals and their families to critical resources. 

Key FAQs about PreventionPays Text Services and 898211 Tier 1 Short Code:

The short code, 898211 and platform "PreventionPays Text" have been chosen as the National Platform by United Way Worldwide. Currently, 898211 is used by more nearly 50% of the 211s in the U.S. Watch the Nationally broadcasted webinar 

The Short code 898211 is provisioned as a Tier 1 meaning complete coverage across all mobile carriers in the U.S. with enhanced capacity like carrier grade message tracking and auto-retry.

PreventionPays is the only text solution that supports both two-way text dialogue and regional alerts under a single intuitive, easy-to-use dashboard.

Enhanced services include fully automated referrals via the OnDemand Utility (completely unique to the PreventionPays Platform)

Carriers have provisioned 898211 on their gateways to function in two very specific ways, as 211 I&R and 211 Disaster/Health & Safety Alerts 

898211 strictly follows all CTIA and FCC guidelines with fully automated opt-in/out protocols

Customized and scalable Phone-2-Text referrals to single or multiple mobile numbers -broaden your engagement and count the work your doing!  Every outgoing message is faithfully recorded and archived.  Upload, send and analyze the beautiful data!

End user privacy is always protected with fully automated opt-in/out protocols

Message tracking and auto-retry protocols: all messages you send through 898211 will receive a delivery receipt from the carrier once the message is delivered to their client’s mobile phone. In the event that it can’t be delivered, the system will auto-retry every 5 minutes until delivery is confirmed. We remove the mystery by giving you the most accurate information attainable for A2P texting. The system keeps track of every message so that your staff don't have to. Simple.

Not all mobile phones can call 2-1-1, but every mobile phone can send a text to 898211.

Provides a lifeline for under-served populations including youth, hearing/speech impaired, homeless and/or temporarily displaced (where their mobile phone is their only link to social services)

898211 is provisioned with inherent routing - each site is responsible for a specific set of zip codes (mirroring the structures already in place under 211 and United Way funding mechanisms)

898211 supports overlap coverage without duplicate responses!

898211 supports 211’s primary aim to provide consistent service to anyone, anywhere, anytime (text messaging is the most versatile, durable and consistent form of communication)

898211 is ideal for post disaster alerts, getting people connected with resources when it matters the most.  Even when web and telephonic services are down, text messages survive the most devastating disasters, as witnessed with Katrina, Haiti, Chile and Japan. In all those cases, text was instrumental in saving lives even while the normal communication infrastructureswere down.

SMS was originally created for the armed services, a small, simplistic set of characters sent and received in the most war-torn regions, a more reliable alternative to short wave radio, CB, web, or telephonic devices

898211 is registered as a 211 service with cell phone carriers, and is bound by CTIA and carrier guidelines to always function according to two levels of service:  Two-way I&R support and Regional Community Alerts (push, group text)

Contact us today for a demo! Learn why text is the most critical communication upgrade for 211s! Learn why 898211 is the service of choice by providers and their funders. 

For a demo email info@preventionpaystext.com

Or text DEMO to 898211

Three Text Alert Programs, No Opt-outs

Programs in three states have deployed alert projects that focus messaging on very specific issues and/or segments of the population.  During last year's Super Storms, Wisconsin and Oregon created text alerts for shelters:  when they open, how many beds are available, and where to go for assistance in finding an emergency shelter when all standard shelters are overpopulated. Time-sensitive messages that help groups of individuals in precise ways have done tremendously well.  Both projects remain live and will ramp back up as we move towards a new season of storms that experts are already predicting will be bigger than last year.  While these programs occurred 2,000 miles apart in two different states, they share one extremely important statistic - not a person cancelled the messages. In mobile communication terminology, no one "opted out". 

This is great news for any agency looking to capitalize on the sms boom. 2-1-1s exploring partnerships with the state or other health agencies can provide assurances about reach as well as efficacy.  This data clearly demonstrates that group messaging can be just as meaningful to the end user as getting a live one-on-one message from a contact center specialist. We are seeing similar results with other issues. For instance, this past summer the state of Idaho launched a summer lunch program where individuals text a keyword to opt-in for the closest meal.  They are auto-queried for their zip code and then the system sends out the closest meals that are open and available for lunch (some resources offer breakfast and supper too!).  And after the first few months, this project has also enjoyed a zero percent opt-out rate! 

A Florida 2-1-1 is providing a tax assistance program that helps educate citizens about free tax help and how they can maximize their return and avoid falling victim to tax scams and advance return programs that unfairly target the poor.  Additionally, they have partnered with state universities and colleges to help educate high school juniors and seniors about the critical life-choice of "going2college". The program sends tailored content to subscribers that helps them meet application deadlines to their chosen institution as well as FAFSA, the two most critical pieces in the process.  Again, two programs that focus on very specific populations and provide alerts that are highly tailored to each group's unique needs.

Other 2-1-1s have implemented fire alerts within moments of a statewide disaster designation. A California 2-1-1 provides incoming college students with time-sensitive education about the issues of alcohol and campus violence. Texts with facts, tips and resources are sent on the weekends just as students are keying up for a big night of partying. 

These agencies have also shared their protocols with each other in an effort to improve response during disasters and create best practice. Text offers new ways to educate communities about services offered by 2-1-1 and make them lifelong advocates and users of your services. Getting tips about going2college can lead to tips about finding a job, which may lead to an I&R encounter on how to find local public transportation which leads to alerts about parenting and so on and so forth. 

At its core, 2-1-1 is about people helping people.  And 898211 is helping 2-1-1s open their door to a new generation of help-seekers.  At our core, we are about helping nonprofits increase their value to their communities by empowering and enriching the lives of individuals and their families. Text offers many exciting, new ways to make that possible.  

There are many new projects coming online over the next several months! We plan to share about them and the profound impact they will undoubtedly have on their communities.

Need an a text service you can count on? Contact us today!

Or text MYTEXT to 898211 and see how secure, enterprise texting is changing how health and human services engage the public!

Sending Text Referrals From Your I&R Database Now Easier Than Ever!

PreventionPays text box is now smarter than ever!  Entering prefabricated content like referrals, links, canned, ready-made phrases can be copied and pasted into the text box and the text box now auto-cleans and strips, making it text message ready. For example, if you are copying and pasting from a resource management tool or web-based service, whether it's crisis counseling by text or 211 I&R by text, you can copy and paste that directly into the text box and the system will auto-format the message so that your clients get referrals in the fewest texts and without line breaks or html tags (that are often part of the referral when copying directly from your online resource management software).  Most referral management tools (I&R resource management software/tools) were not designed for sending referrals by text message. Many were developed before text based I&R was a concept. Instead they were built for telephone voice support, where a resource specialist or crisis counselor dictates the referral back to their client over the phone which can lead to countless errors and misinterpretation.  So, we have adapted your text box on the PreventionPays Text Platform to auto-format non-conforming content so that sending referrals in PreventionPays Text has never been easier or more efficient.

The screenshot below shows a resource that was copied directly from an I&R AIRs certified web-based database management service and pasted into the text box. Then, just below that, it shows the message auto-formatted and delivered to the end user as a single text. 

We have also deployed the auto-segmentation of messages that exceed the character limit.  So, if you are sending multiple referrals, you can now send them at the same time and your text box will properly format those into separate texts (in the most economic and pleasing way for your clients). 

So whether you're texting referrals during a live text encounter or during a phone conversation, your clients will absolutely love what you text them!

For more information about text counseling and text I&R, email info@preventionpaystext.com or click the link in our website header!

Educational Message Services is a boutique mhealth agency specializing in secure, web-based tools to increase human connections in public health since 1994. As APHA and AIRS members, we are hyper-sensitive to the needs of our clients. Our best advocates and collaborators will always be our clients. They use our services every day and have dedicated their lives to helping others achieve better health outcomes. We want to celebrate and honor their work first and foremost.