This guide walks you through the major steps to creating a text message program for your health-related organization.

First, plan how you want to use text messages. Identify who will write the message and who will be responsible for sending them and following up. Agree in advance on what you want to see happen and how much you are willing to spend in time and energy. We recommend starting with a pilot program of a few dozen to a few hundred text messages and then expanding further.

Second, get your technology setup. Don’t be afraid if you’ve never done it before. We’re here to walk you through it step by step!

Third, decide on your two c's: content and cadence. What do you want to say in your messages, and how often do you want to send them? We'll discuss some requirements for text message content and best practices to make them readable regardless of their audience. We'll also share HIPAA-specific tips on what you are able to write when it comes to texting about someone's healthcare. Finally, follow up. We will walk you through how to follow up to complete a campaign and how to use your results to plan for your next outreach.

We estimate that this whole process will take you three hours to complete all at once. Otherwise, go ahead and jump around to the parts you most want to read.