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Optimizing SMS for Patient Communication: Best Practices and Multilingual Support

SMS character limits for patient communication

Effective communication with patients is vital in healthcare. At Curago, we ensure your SMS messages are delivered smoothly, whether they are appointment reminders or multilingual updates. Here’s how you can maximize the impact of your messages.

SMS Character Limits

Standard Messages

For standard SMS, the character limit is 160, including spaces and punctuation. To avoid splitting, keep your messages concise. Here’s an example of an appointment reminder:

“Reminder: Your appointment with Dr. Smith is on June 15 at 10 AM. Please reply YES to confirm.”

Unicode Messages

For messages in languages requiring special characters, such as Mandarin or Spanish, the limit is 70 characters per segment. Here’s an example in Spanish:

“Recordatorio: Su cita con el Dr. Smith es el 15 de junio a las 10 AM. Responda SÍ para confirmar.”

Concatenation Practices

Segmented Messages

When messages exceed the character limit, they are split into segments. Each segment includes a part of the message and a header to ensure they are reassembled correctly by the recipient’s device.

Segment Lengths

  • GSM 7-bit encoding: 153 characters per segment.
  • Unicode (UCS-2) encoding: 67 characters per segment.

Best Practices for Patient Messaging

  1. Be Concise: Aim for messages within the 160-character limit.
  2. Use Clear Language: Ensure your messages are straightforward.
  3. Test Messages: Preview how messages appear on different devices.
  4. Choose Characters Wisely: Use GSM characters to maximize the character limit but switch to Unicode for non-Latin alphabets when necessary.

Supporting Multilingual Patient Communication

At Curago, we understand the importance of supporting patients who speak different languages. Use Unicode for languages like Mandarin and Spanish to ensure accurate and clear communication. Here’s a Mandarin example:



Curago is dedicated to facilitating effective patient communication through reliable SMS services. By understanding character limits and best practices, you can enhance patient engagement and ensure efficient communication. For more information or assistance, our support team is always here to help.