Online Biometric Attendance System for all District Headquarters and Tehsil Headquarters Hospitals across the province of Punjab, Pakistan

Introduction

With a view to improve efficiency in monitoring the attendance, leave records and over all working environment of all the Government Hospitals in the province of Punjab, Pakistan, the chief minster of Punjab, MianShabaz Sharif desired that an Online Biometric Attendance System be introduced in all the District (DHQ)and Tehsil (THQ)hospitals. This was done with a view to build accuracy in taking attendance electronically thereby reducing human error, improve patient care by ensuring presence and punctuality of doctors, nurses, administrative staff and other employees at hospitals during their respective duty hours. This task was given to Punjab Information technology Board (PITB) headed by its chairman Dr. Umar Saif, for implementation. An RFP was floated and SecureTech won the contract after due process of technical and financial evaluation. The project entailedthe installation of adequate number of biometric machines in all DHQ and THQ’s, with a view to avoid long queue and inconvenience during close and opening of shift timings.All employees at each hospital were given the option to mark their attendance on any of the biometric attendance machines installed at designated sites in the hospital by either just giving their fingerprints or by their ID card being scanned or by a PIN number randomly given to each employee at the time of their biometric enrolment. These three options can be controlled centrally for all the devices across the entire province or for each specific hospital.The system would provide real-time data about the attendance of employees via online dashboard, eliminates ghost employees, ensuring transparency and improving productivity of various departmentsof the hospitals. In case, an employee did not have his fingerprint stored in a specific machine, his data would be fetched from the central server as soon as he scans his Identity Card, thus every employee can use any online biometric attendance terminal in any hospital in the entire province of Punjab. More specifically, this system is designed to allow the hospital Medical Superintendent (MS)/higher management to manage and control the attendance and leaves record of its employees. Additionally the staff duty roster is also managed through both the time attendance machine as well as via a web portal that is available to each hospital.  

Challenges
Challenges that were being faced by our team during the deployment of this enterprise level time attendance project are as follows:

1. Completion of Surveys of 780 diversified locations of 138 hospitals/facilities all across Punjab within 2 weeks. Most of the sites located in far fetched areas of both Northern and southern Punjab as shown in the map below:

2. Submission of survey reports to Pakistan Information Technology Board (PITB) within 3 weeks containing all Pictures of Surveyed sites, Geographical Locations, signal strength of the mobile connections, etc.

3. Development and manufacture of these devices from our foreign vendor with an approved artwork and design from PITB within 5 weeks was quiet a challenge.

4. Development of backend web portal within 5 weeks containing multiple modules like Device management, User Management, Leave management, Roster Management, multiple types of attendance reports etc.

5. Supply, configuration, installation, testing and commissioning of machines at 780 locations within 2 weeks along with a cage for protection of these devices against vandalism with a lock and Key mechanism..

6. Onsite Training of unskilled and non-technical staff of hospitals who had not adequate computer knowledge.

7. Harder working conditions due to summer season coupled with the month of Ramazan when eating and drinking limitations was a strain on our installation teams that had to traverse long distances each day..

8. Non availability of concerned hospital’s representative due to reduced Ramazan timings.

9. Logistic and supply management for provision of anti Vandalism cages and machines through cargo service at diverse locations . The field staff had to collect the machines and cages from Central cargo service office and then take them along to the installation sites. This was again a limiting factor due to shortage of time for completion of the project.

10. Timely Development of Dashboard (shown below) summarizing all features of Biometric Attendance system being monitored by Executive District Officers (EDOs), District Coordination Officer (DCO), Secretary Health, Director General Health and Chief Minister of Punjab.

Solution

The Online Biometric Time and Attendance System is intended to replace the manual model of attendance record keeping by means of paper records. This system is a biometric application that has been installed on biometric device from where the attendance will be marked by the employees of the hospitals. The Biometric Attendance system will detect the presence of employees in the hospital premises via using biometrics (primary option), along with other secondary options CNIC and/or PIN numberfor marking the attendance on biometric device. This will help to calculate attendance, manage leaves and generate reports based on the data.

Features

1. The presence of the employee within the hospital premises will be detected by the biometric attendance device(s) installed in each hospital.

2. Every system user will enroll the employee.

3. Every system user will manage duty roster and leave roster of the employee.

4. Reports can be viewed by the system user via web portal.

5. System is able to manage leaves of the employees as well.

6. Device Management for all the locations and sites through a web portal.

Conclusion

An enterprise level project that automates not only the attendance of hospital staff but is scalable to provide an IT enabled environment in the health sector.