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Configuring the Message Type (Optional)

There are two message types available for a Spok Mobile integration with a contact center, Alert and Chat. Each provides a standard messaging experience for Spok Mobile users, but each message type integrates with Care Connect differently.

Spok Mobile offers two message types, which allow your organization to realize flexible mobile-to-mobile communication benefits. Consider the following questions to help you decide which message type to use:

  • Is driving workflows and escalations important in your organization? Do you have systems like Spok Messenger, eNotify, or Critical Test Results Management (CTRM) with workflows that depend on immediate response? When a console operator messages a Spok Mobile user, do you want the actions of the recipient to integrate with the workflow of the system?
  • Is facilitating physician-to-physician messaging important in your organization? Do you want to provide secure messaging for your care providers, without that messaging driving workflows and escalations?

The following information will help you determine the appropriate message type to configure for your environment.

Mobile to Mobile Communication Experience

Regardless of which messaging type you configure, Spok Mobile users will experience the Spok Mobile client application as a standard messaging communication platform. The distinction between Alert and Chat message types is mainly important for Spok Mobile configuration, and for integration with a console system. It does not significantly impact the experience of mobile-to-mobile communication for Spok Mobile users.

Choosing a Message Type

The following table outlines the differences between Alert and Chat message types, and the use case for each:

  Description User Experience
Alert  The Alert message type is the default configuration when setting up an integration in Care Connect between Spok Mobile and a contact center (for example, Smart Suite, Spok Console, or MediCall).

Use Case:
Alert is the default message type because it supports workflows driven by systems that require escalations or immediate responses like Spok Messenger, eNotify, and Critical Test Results Management (CTRM). The recipient's Accept or Decline response integrates with the escalation workflows of these systems.

Alert messages also provide a more standardized messaging experience, because they can be configured to allow recipients to reply after accepting or declining.
Recipient Experience:
When an Alert message is received on a device, the recipient must acknowledge the received content by selecting Accept or Decline. If the system is configured to allow the recipient to reply, the recipient can reply to the Alert message after accepting or declining it. This provides a standardized messaging experience.

Sender Experience:
The experiences of sending Alert and Chat messages are the same. The user composes and sends a message and has the ability to view the status of the message.
NOTE: In order to provide a seamless and intuitive messaging experience for the sender, if a message is accepted by the recipient, the message status for the sender appears as Read. If a message is declined by the recipient, the message status for the sender appears as Declined.

The Chat message type is an optional configuration. You must manually set Spok Mobile to use the Chat message type, as opposed to the Alert message type which is configured by default.

Chat messages do not offer recipients the option to Accept or Decline a message Instead, an acknowledgement status update is automatically sent back through the system when a recipient opens a message. This maintains an audit trail for the message.

If a user is already in the conversation screen when a new message arrives for that conversation, an audible notification tone will play, the chat bubble will populate the conversation with the new message, and an acknowledgement status will be sent back to the Spok Mobile server.

Use Cases:
The Chat message type is best used for communications involving patients and their care teams. When this message type is enabled, mobile-to-mobile messages that go through the console system (for example, Smart Suite or Spok Console) appear in the Spok Mobile recipient's inbox and recipients are not required to accept or decline the message.

If the purpose of mobile-to-mobile communication at your site is to provide secure messaging between care providers that does not require immediate actions and decisions, and your environment does not include workflows that require escalations, configure the Chat message type so users are not required to accept or decline each message.

The Chat message type functions like other popular messaging applications, allowing users to send and receive messages in a conversation style without being required to accept or decline every message.

Training Considerations

Train Spok Mobile app users to use Spok Mobile as a standard messaging app, regardless of which message type is configured. You do not need to train users to send a specific type of message. In fact, you do not need to mention "message types" or "alerts" at all. The distinction between message types is only relevant for system configuration purposes. If configuring the Alert message type, train users to accept or decline received "messages" (not "alerts").

Configuring the Chat Message Type

The default message type is Alert. You can manually set the message type to Chat when integrating with a contact center by following the directions below:

  • To configure Spok Console to use the Chat message type, you must configure ISF. For detailed information on how to configure the Spok Console system to use chat messages, see Configuring the Mobile/2-Way Mobile Enablement ISF Plugin.
  • To configure Smart Suite to use the Chat message type, you must set up the MXPP configuration file. For detailed information about how to configure Smart Suite’s MXPP configuration file to use chat messages, see “Configuring the Chat Message Type (Optional)” in the Smart Suite Deployment Guide.
  • Support for the mobile Chat messaging is defined by the following XtendMeConnector configuration parameter:
        <add key="Custom_FreeFormatted_MessageType" value="Mobile.Chat"/>

    This parameter is located in the config file beginning with MediCall 11.9. If you are performing an installation at a site that is upgrading from an earlier version of MediCall, you need to either add the parameter to the config file or replace the entire config file at the site with the new file.

    To disable chat-style messaging, assign the value below:
        <add key="Custom_FreeFormatted_MessageType" value=""/>