Some comments in-line below. I wish I could offer more immediate solutions to your problems but I hope this feedback helps!
Isaac Holeman, Chief Strategist
Medic Mobile \+/ http://medicmobile.org
team twitter @medic
On Oct 20, 2011, at 10:39 PM, Sarah Iribarren wrote:
> Hi I am trialing FrontlineSMS in the US currently and having some challenges. Wondering if anyone could lead me in the right direction. Thank you in advance for your time and assistance.
> Questions / Issues
> 1. I am only able to see received messages under the Home tab. In message history only get sent messages (received box is checked). When the initial reply is received it appears under the Message tab but if I move to another tab and return the receive messages no longer appear. I would like to track received messages.
Not being able to see any received messages in the messages tab sounds like a bug but I haven't seen it before. Medic Mobile focuses on supporting the PatientView tab (which we built), and since this sounds like an issue with the FLSMS platform I'd encourage you to check the FrontlineSMS forum to see if anyone there has experience with this issue. When you post a question, be sure to tell what version of the software you are using, whether you're using windows, ubuntu or mac, what modem you are using and any other details.
> 2. I set up hourly reminder to trial reminders and am only receiving the message if I hit 're-send selected'. I am not receiving hourly. I have double checked time and date range.
The first thing to figure out is whether this is an issue with the reminders tab, with your connection to the network (modem or clickatel), or an issue with the network itself. Typically when an SMS fails to send and you need to hit 're-send selected' it's because the mobile network (or your SMS gateway) was down the first time you tried sending. If this is the case, there's not an easy solution aside from trying a different gateway, a different mobile network or putting your modem in a place with better reception. If the SMS don't appear as pending in the Home tab at about the time you expect them to be sending, this may be a bug in the reminders tab and I'd encourage you to report it on the FLSMS forum so the people there know about the issue.
> 3. I plan to use Clickatell to send messages and a modem with local SIM card to receive messages (in order for the patients to not have to send to an international number which I assume would cost more and would likely be confusing) while implementing intervention abroad. Currently (in US) I am practicing with a SIM card and had the Clickatell account in the "working devices" and am unable to send messages. Once I 'disconnect' the Clickatell account I am able to send messages. I am now concerned that I may not be able to have both active at the same time (one to send other to receive messages). Is there a way to have both running without disconnecting one?
Again this is more of an issue with core FLSMS platform so I'd encourage you to check out the resources they have available. If you try the things that the forums have encouraged others to try and you still can't get it to work, it's very helpful for you to post your question and include a summary of the things you've tried to get it to work. http://frontlinesms.ning.com/main/search/search?q=clickatell
> 4. I have to run the modem set up every time I restart the computer in order for FrontlineSMS to recognize it (even after trying 'auto detect phone' and having modem plugged in prior to opening Frontline. Is there something I am doing wrong?
The challenging part of modem setup is that it is different for every combination of modem/phone and various versions of each operating system. It's possible that your modem driver (the software you install so your computer knows how to use the modem) isn't being saved properly and it might work after restart if you select different options when you install the software.
> 5. I would like to set up "patient flags," automated actions based on received content or (in my case) the lack thereof. I would like set up auto reminder if patient has not texted-in. In the FrontlineSMS Help under keywords I am able to find Auto Reply and under Reminders could set up scheduled messages (although I want the reminder sent only if text not received)? I do not see directions for "patient flags". Anyone have any experience setting up this sort of function?
I thought Patient Flags was a good idea but Medic Mobile never secured funding to build it. This could still be built into FLSMS if you have a software developer or money to hire one, but it would be important to consider that in the next 6 months FLSMS is planning to release an entirely new version of their software that won't support plugins built on the older system. Basically this means that support for the older version of FLSMS isn't going to be as good starting less than a year from now.
For projects that are just getting started I strongly recommend human involvement before software customization wherever feasible. For example, you could take the approach of the folks behind the WelTel study in Kenya - they sent SMS to patients asking the patients to respond whether they were doing well or poorly. They had someone read through these messages and respond (they made phone calls, but you could do more SMS or whatever) as needed. If your patient population is less than a few hundred, it would only take a couple minutes a day to skim through the messages and see where people have responded that they're doing poorly. I would especially recommend this approach if your main interest (like our colleagues who set up WelTel), is whether the messages can improve patient care, not whether it's feasible to develop customized software on a given timeline and budget. The FrontlineSMS software is designed to be simple so that workarounds like this are easy, and Medic Mobile has used similar workarounds to great effect on many projects.
An additional question - are you planning to use the PatientView software? This is the best place for advice specific to PatientView but for other issues the FLSMS forum is an important resource. http://frontlinesms.ning.com