Mobile Framework for Healthcare Adoption of Short-message Technologies

The HL7 Mobile Framework for Healthcare Adoption of Short-message Technologies (mFHAST) project seeks to develop a framework that supports a breadth of disclosure and retrieval options for short-message use cases in a well-structured manner.

Short-message technologies are being used by hundreds of projects for a multitude of health related objectives. Most have adopted their own ad-hoc implementations for structured short-message communications. There is currently no known standard for adoption and implementation of short-message technologies within the healthcare domain. Due to the prevalence of these global ad-hoc efforts and the interoperability implications therein it is critical that a standard in this domain be developed.

Many healthcare settings, especially those within rural and low-income environments do not have the infrastructure needed to effectively support messaging payloads above a few kilobytes. This might be due to limitations of the mobile technology (e.g., low-end smartphone) or may be due to a lack of robust network connections within their area (e.g., sparse distribution of cell phone towers). Projects within these areas have frequently adopted short-message services as an intermediary way in which to communicate health care and public health services in a limited fashion. Most times, project-specific short-message structures are used in order to make ad-hoc standards for communicating essential information.

Short-message technologies are one of the most widely used mobile applications with estimates of over 3 billion active users and encompassing upwards of 80% of mobile subscribers. Short-message technologies are generally composed of approximately 160 characters depending on device, implementation and character library. Due to the broad penetration and adoption of texting by people world-wide and the low infrastructure implementation requirements it has been identified as a valuable method for communicating health information across all socio-economic health settings.

About HL7

Health Level Seven International (HL7) is a not-for-profit, ANSI-accredited standards developing organization dedicated to providing standards for the exchange, integration, sharing, and retrieval of electronic health information.


mFHAST Project Progress

Project Formation and Approval
Use Case Development
White Paper Development
Draft Standard Development

HL7 mFHAST Standard Stakeholders and Domains

Public Health & Emergency Response

Long-Term Services and Support




Patient/Provider Communication


Health Registries


Clinical Research/Clinical Trials


Adverse Event Reporting


Health Education