Demystifying Short Codes!

What Are Short Codes?

The US is a highly regulated market for SMS where carriers have established rules for how agencies are to send text messages. Any messages generated by an application are considered Application-to-Person (A2P) and must be sent over a Short Code.

While typical phone numbers in the US are 10-digits and are meant for enabling communication between two mobile phones, Short Codes are 5-6 digits and are leased by businesses intended for (A2P) Application-to-Person traffic.  PreventionPays is unique as we have developed a suite of web-based services that use enterprise Tier 1 short codes to power live, one-on-one communication and tailored group messaging, all under the same, intuitive, easy-to-use application!   

How Are Short Codes Obtained?

Provisioning a Short Code can be a very long and complex process that requires approval by carriers. After committing to your message content you must submit an application to get it approved  by each individual carrier (Verizon Wireless, AT&T, T-Mobile etc…). The timeline is unpredictable and any changes to the application or the message content can require re-provisioning. This impacts your ability to plan, your time-to-launch and overall agility.

Due to the complex approval process described above, provisioning a Short Code typically takes three months and can take longer if you do not have experience with the application process or if your application gets challenged.

Get Started Today!

 PreventionPays Text offers an innovative solution that enables agencies to begin sending messages with Short Codes today. To mitigate the long Short Code provisioning process, PreventionPays offers fully provisioned Tier 1 Short Codes which allow you to get started immediately!

With PreventionPays fully provisioned Tier 1 Short Codes you can begin sending the following types of messages right away:

Two-way, conversational texting!  Provide live help using Enterprise, Tier 1 short codes! A2P use of short codes to create real-time, IM-style conversations. De-escalate crisis, deploy information and referrals, increase client engagements, reach the next generation of help-seeker with secure, live help from your pc, laptop, tablet!

Education/Awareness: With read rates of over 95% within minutes, SMS is a great way to make sure your clients are receiving timely information. A highly sophisticated message track solution that enables you to deploy messages in a series. Create learning programs via text... providing tailored content at the exact moments when your audience will be most receptive. 

Fully-automated referrals with our unique Triage Tool!  Have high contact issues that are over-burdening your call center? Put our smart triage to work and take a big bite out of repetitive referrals. 

New this year!  Appointment reminders with live help!  Send appointment reminders with confidence. Our unique message tracking will update each time an appointment or medication reminder is not delivered. And then, allow your clients to reschedule or engage with live help via two-way text! if you offer sms appointment reminders, it also makes sense to offer rescheduling via the same channel! Your clients will love it!

Ask about our development groups! We're constantly working on new, creative ways to expand uses and push the envelope on texting! 

PreventionPays' Tier 1 Short Codes make it easy for any agency, regardless of resources and budget, to get up and running right away.

The benefits include:

Faster launch times: hours instead of months

Save money with one annual cost or pay by the month!

Avoid application complexity: Spend time on things that matter and let us handle the rest
With fully automated opt in/opt opt we remove the hassle so you can focus on what matters! 

Alerts: Have something that your clients need to know right now? SMS is the most effective channel for reaching large audiences quickly and efficiently!  According to PEW Internet Research, 80% of tweets are ignored, while 98% of texts are read in the first 5 minutes of receiving them!

Create fully-automated post encounter surveys!  Offer live help and then create an exit Q&A and delay delivery for hours, days, weeks.  Funders are always seeking followup data. But agencies are finding it increasingly difficult to collect qualitative data. With voice calls are rarely answered. However, as a preferred channel, text simplifies this process making end user feedback a mutually rewarding experience.  

Are there per message fees or additional charges?

With PreventionPays you can take comfort in knowing you have unlimited messages with absolutely no per message fees. PreventionPays Text was developed for health and human services... the system supports your agency with everything needed to provide deep engagements and elevate your service across all programs and priority groups!

Need a dedicated short code?  Contact us today and we'll get your application underway! 

We make texting the right way! Safe and simple!

PreventionPays services strictly adhere to all FCC and CTIA regulations! End user privacy is our highest priority.

Always FCC and CTIA Compliant!

Always FCC and CTIA Compliant!

Ho, ho, ho! Exciting New Features... and More Coming Soon!

Case Manager Settings:

Now admins can set up staff to only see certain cases. This is optional so please discuss with your staff using the system.

So, when staff log in they will just see the cases that are in their caseload.  The case manager setting is separate from the responder setting. So, now, they no longer have to be assigned as responder to be assigned to the case.  

You can start using the queue this way by having staff go through the queue and "assign" themselves as the "case manager".  

They access this by clicking on each case, and then in the middle of the screen in the attributes section, there's another link next to the "assign responder" called "assign manager".  So, they will want to click the "assign manager" link and then select their name in the pull-down menu.   Once they've assigned all their cases to themselves admin can modify their profile settings so they just see their “assigned” cases.  To do so, you remove the check box in “all” under “users tab permissions"  when they log in they only see the cases they are assigned to manage.  If you don’t want to restrict staff to just their assigned cases, don’t change their profile.  They will still have access to “all” cases, but, when they click the sub tab “mine” they will see all cases they are assigned as responder and case manager.

Pass status:  “pass” option/status has been deployed however we have not updated this in the guide yet.  We have a few more deployments that we’re getting ready for and we're waiting to include those and the pass button in the next iteration!

Pass button is as follows:  
Some cases don't need a response. So it gives the option to pass so that it gets recorded that way. Agencies can create protocols around when and when not to use pass instead of opening case and sending a live response. When the case is "passed" the yellow turns off and the status changes to "passed".

So passing on the response versus taking it, opening, responding and then closing.

The other way is one responder has already tried to offer help and then another person's eyes are needed on the case. There could be a specialist who just takes the passes… so if you have a question that needs more support or if there’s a language barrier issue, or if first level response just needs some extra guidance with a case, the case manager setting can help guide these tasks and support your site's custom protocols.

Pass button does not change the functionality of the open and close. You can operate the system without ever using pass. And if you use pass by mistake you can open and close to change back to closed status. 

New Message Notifications

You will now be alerted when new messages enter the queue regardless of whether you're looking at Users tab. The alert appears in the bottom right corner and will update every time a new message arrives. And if you manage more than one queue, you will also receive alerts for the other queues. The alert automatically turns off when you click the X in top corner or click the message inside the alert, or click the Users tab to view the queue.  No more toggling back and forth between queues. We'll let you know when you have to switch locations! 

You can also choose to disable the notifications. Disable is located directly above the queue to the right of the disable buttons for audio alerts.  You disable the alerts the same way as audio, by clicking the check-box to off.

User Guide Version 7 is available for download here:
V 7 covers features up though “case manager” settings

Thank you and as always, Happy Texting!


We Have Texting! Now What?

Perhaps the biggest issue our clients face today is awareness. They have texting but their community doesn't know it yet.  And what makes this particularly frustrating is, we all know texting is the most common communication channel for Americans under 55, more than voice calls and email. So, how do we reach them? How do we build up our web presence so that members of our community know that we can receive text messages from them?

The call to action should be on every page of your website. Place it in the footer, header, or anywhere that is prominent and highly visible and viewable on EVERY page. The call to action has two parts, the keyword and the short code.  For example, text HALLOWEEN to 898211 where "Halloween" is the keyword and 898211, the short code.  The keyword can have quotations or not - it doesn't really matter. The best method is all uppercase, no quotations. You can also highlight the keyword and short code as follows:

Text HALLOWEEN to 898211

Text HALLOWEEN to 898211

Using different colors for keyword and short code is very effective as well.

In 2-1-1 I&R the call to action is always the same:  "Text your zip code to 898211" "Text your 5 digit zip code to 898211"

Any of these methods/combinations are equally effective.  You can also provide an example...

"Text your zip code to 898211" (As a W. Ventura resident, I would text "93001" to 898211)

In the 2-1-1 I&R example, the end user's personal zip code is the keyword and 898211, the short code.

CTIA requires that you post (on your landing page, or the first page people visit on your website) the following notice:

Standard msg&data rates may apply. Text STOP to opt-out. For end user privacy and terms and conditions of texting with 898211, go to:

For websites, this only needs to be posted once.  However, if you put it in your footer, it will appear on every page, and this too is a good solution as it ensures your website will never be flagged for being non-compliant.  End user privacy is the single most important component of texting with the public.  If you have any questions about this requirement, please contact us!

You may also consider posting your call to action on blogs, newsletters, brochures, business cards, tweets, FB, or any other social media tools/platforms you use to alert your community about your services. 

A good rule of thumb: for every mention of your phone number, there should be an equal number of calls to action for your text service.  Remember your audience is there and they want to text you. They just aren't aware yet that they can text you.

Here are some examples of effective marketing by 2-1-1 Info in Oregon!  Also check out their website at:

2-1-1 Info in Oregon developed this GIF which they use and reuse on blog posts, tweets, their website, pretty much anywhere. We like this because it actually shows the end user where to put the keyword and short code.  While most people know these steps now, it never hurts to remind them! And this is a very effective tool for doing exactly that!  I believe they have a generic version of this as well. If you ask nicely, I'm sure they will let you use it!  Contact: Curtis:

2-1-1 Info in Oregon developed this GIF which they use and reuse on blog posts, tweets, their website, pretty much anywhere. We like this because it actually shows the end user where to put the keyword and short code.  While most people know these steps now, it never hurts to remind them! And this is a very effective tool for doing exactly that!  I believe they have a generic version of this as well. If you ask nicely, I'm sure they will let you use it!  Contact: Curtis:

New Features Make Case Management Simple

In addition to Enterprise two-way texting with community alerts/education, we're now supporting integrated case management tools that allow staff to send ongoing messages and engage specific individuals/groups according to types of service or type of responder. For example, once a crisis is deescalated, re-assign the case to another staff who manages followup communication. Move completed cases to aftercare, a separate queue with a separate dashboard. And with our Live Data Markers, track followups using status updates (how are you feeling today? Did you connect with your therapist? Were you able to refill your meds?) so that over time, you can demonstrate the effectiveness of your work using longitudinal, fluctuating data. 

Set automated messages to query individuals after the encounter ends. Schedule messages one week, two weeks apart that stimulate ongoing dialogue.  Learn how clients are doing over time without requiring any staff involvement. All messages will be visible and archived with each case. Services that demonstrate behavioral changes over time shed new light on mental health and greatly increase your funding potential.

In our next issue of the user guide we will cover the utilization of these new features! Or if you have questions, contact us at

End user privacy is always protected with automated opt-in/opt-out!  New FCC laws make automating the opt-in/out a requirement.



Nursing Program Launches Two-Way Texting for Patients

San Luis Obispo County Public Health launches two-way text to increase patient engagement and augment their individualized patient care model. We are very pleased they chose PreventionPays Text as their platform.


Nurses will use two-way text dialogue to answer questions about their personal health choices, medications, and preventative strategies. The focus will be on "keeping it light and to the point," reported the director of the program. If the conversation escalates to something more substantial, then they will try to get them an appt or call them on the phone. 

With texting, engagement is phenomenal with 98% of all texts opened within the first 5 minutes.

Unhealthy behavior such as smoking, overeating and non-adherence to medications drives outcomes in many cases -- which makes patient engagement a key part of population health management. Recognizing this, healthcare organizations are trying to engage patients on numerous levels by using technologies that range from patient portals and secure e-mail to automated phone messaging and texting.

It's no surprise that texting has become the communication mode of choice for a big slice of the population with the explosive growth of mobile devices. In fact, Americans under 55 text far more often than they call on their cell phones; those under 30 text more often than they e-mail other people. Younger people are often the patients who are the hardest for physicians and hospitals to reach.