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Why shorten links
As a practice, we know that communicating with patients can be difficult at scale and as a result, the default option is normally text message. However, with text messages, there is normally a character limit that restricts the content unless you wish to send as two parts - incurring more cost and a slightly broken message.
In order to help you with character limits, you can actually shorten any website URL to become much shorter and use up fewer characters in the text message body. This can be helpful when sending out communications about the launch of eConsult or to ask patients to complete their clinical review.
The example below of a long link which, we have then shortened, will take you to the same URL.
What are link shortening websites?
There are many websites that can help you shorten the website link. This will make sharing the link as a text message take up fewer characters allowing you to put more information into your text rather than the website address being the dominant feature.
We recommend using a website called Bitly (http://www.bitly.com/). You can create a free account to shorten links. It is best practice to have the long links ready for what you need to change (i.e. the Clinical review templates are a good example) and then have your clinical system ready to add them as presets.
How to shorten eConsult questionnaire links
Access the website link that you wish to send via text message. Copy the URL from the search bar for the destination link. To copy this you can use normal shortcuts such as Ctrl + C or right-click to access the option.
Go to the www.bitly.com website and click on the orange 'create' button on the top right-hand side.
The 'Create Link' tab will open as a side window on the right-hand side, enter the link copied from Step 1 into the box and Paste Long URL
You will then be presented with your new short link, make sure you copy this and save it in an appropriate place for future use.
This 2-minute video summarises how you can access our review questionnaires and how to shorten the link so that you can easily send a specific link to patients.
If you need help and support in this area please contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
What is Bitly?
Bitly is just one tool that can be used to shorten links. Once you have followed the above process once and saved it, you will not need to use it again - so make sure you sign up for the free version of Bitly.
What happens if I need help with shortening links?
If you are struggling with this then please get in touch with our helpful team at email@example.com.
If you have any questions or you feel that this article could be improved, please feel free to give us some feedback by emailing us, pressing the emojis below or using the chat button on the bottom right-hand side of this page to speak to one of the eConsult team.