iHRIS and Payroll

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    • #496

      Hi all – a new question building off one of our questions from the webinar earlier this week. What are the difference between a product like iHRIS, which focuses on health workforce information, and an HR or Payroll system that a government use for its public workforce? Why would a Ministry of Health consider adding a system specializing in HRH? What opportunities are there for iHRIS to exchange data with a payroll or other HR system? Looking forward to hearing your thoughts!

    • #507
      Tariq Azim

      There is a simple answer to that. The HRIS is maintained by the MOH, mostly for managing their human resources in terms of transfers, assignments etc. But the payroll is maintained by Ministry of Finance for salary and other benefits, promotions etc. purposes. MoF usually don’t like someone else messing up with their system.

    • #513
      Samuel Johnson

      Payroll systems usually hold only very basic information, and have limited reporting capabilities – plus they usually don’t cover all public healthcare staff (in many countries government staff are supplemented by staff paid directly by donors, and by doctors/nurses from partner organisations).

      So there is a strong need for the much more comprehensive workforce information that a HRIS provides. The point Tariq makes is a good one, but I think if you are prepared to modify your HRIS to fit the MoF’s systems (rather than vice-versa), then you can make good headway.

      In Swaziland in 2007, with support from IntraHealth, I helped the MoH set up a monthly download from the MoF payroll system into the HRIS, linking up payroll data to the wider range of data maintained in the HRIS.

      This gave the HRIS solid foundations, and created a virtuous circle – not only did it keep the HRIS up-to-date, it also enabled the MoH to pick up errors in the payroll system, and put through forms to have them corrected. (This mostly related to names, dates-of-birth or locations of staff, but in a few cases we were able to identify staff who had left but were still on the payroll.)

      But customised integrations like this are fragile – one software update and everything can break down – so taking this to scale really requires us to start building and using standardised tools for this integration work.

    • #514
      Carl Leitner

      One way to make the the integration less is to look for standards based data exchange. There are a couple of sets of standards that are relevant here.

      The first is for the sharing of health worker data from the HRH viewpoint. For this, we have things like the Care Services Discovery (CSD) standard:
      that is the basis of the OpenHIE Health Worker Registry – a centralized registry of health workers. There are also other standards like HL7 FHIR:
      that can be used to represent that data.

      For more traditional HR/Payroll functions, there are standards such as HR XML:
      which can capture salary, time and attendance, etc.
      If you combine this with the CSD standard, you will a very stable and powerful way to exchange health worker data.

    • #515
      Samuel Johnson

      Hi Carl, thanks for the pointer towards the HR Open Standards (HR-XML) – I wasn’t aware of them, and they look like they’re being adopted quite widely in recruitment/screening systems.

      The key question is probably: do the older payroll systems used by most governments accommodate these standards? As Tariq points out, although a persuasive case can be put to an MoH to introduce new HR information systems, it is a huge challenge to get MoF staff to modify their systems, since this doesn’t directly benefit them.

      So for this to work, either their payroll suppliers need to adopt HR-XML standards, or we need to develop HR-XML ‘connectors’ for the major payroll packages that are out there, which can use the native APIs, messaging or export functionality in each system…

      Either way, experience tells me that the effort involved would be well worth the benefits it would bring.

      PS – full disclosure: I wasn’t able to join the webinar, so am basing my comments solely on the forum discussions.

    • #517
      Carl Leitner

      Hi Samuel,
      Sorry for the late response to this (I didn’t get an email alert, so am just seeing this now).

      I agree that there is a challenge in that we won’t find many implementations of HR-XML and likely would need to be added. You can do this directly on the payroll systems themselves, or use an open-source tool like iReports to connect to the backend database and produce the needed HR-XML.


    • #518
      Gerard Bisama

      Hi everyone sorry for coming late to this discussion, the main difference between iHRIS and HR and payroll system used by government is that iHRIS is used for managing specific HR information of health worker like cadre, specialization, in-service training that could help the MoH to build effective policy and planning to enhance Health. Problem related to the ratio of health worker by category in a population, the retention of health worker in rural area, the promotion of certain medical curriculum (Medical specialization), gender discrimination in certain Medical professional categories and training need assessment, track of other health worker in private and faith-based facilities could only be solved with a proper HRIS for Health . Meanwhile, the HR and Payroll system are used to know the number of health worker, their salary grade and the number of year that will help them to calculate the salary and track payment. However some payroll systems contain advanced analytical tools for salary and finance that iHRIS do not have. In this case we can share information between these two systems remains the key features to build an integrated Heatlh IT architecture. But one major problem is that in Most African Countries the payroll system are not open source software that make then difficult to configure for sharing information with others systems. With payroll proprietary software with no interface to share information, what can be done in my point of view is to have access to the database and develop tools to export information in CSV or XML and share them with iHRIS.

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