Initially designed to allow users to manage their own shifts by booking the shifts that they themselves wish to work, it is also used extensively in situations where shifts are booked on behalf of the staff working the shifts. With a highly flexible system for arranging shifts, the system can cater for complex rates of pay for a large variety of users including Doctors, Dentists, Nurses, HCAs, Paramedics, Drivers, Receptionists, Administrators etc.. The built-in calendar can automatically cater for bank holidays, Christmas and Easter. Bank holidays and Easter are calculated on a perpetual calendar system.
Being very easy to use, normal users (i.e. Doctors, Nurses, etc.), can manage their own shifts or be booked into a fixed rota of shifts. Users are able to see what they will earn for each shift worked and where required the system can produce timesheets, pro-forma invoices (especially for doctors who are self employed) and allows them to download them to claim their payments.
Fundamental to the system is the booking screen This is used by individuals to book their own shifts or for administrators to book shifts for other users. The system applies rules to ensure that only those qualified to work a particular shift can book it or have it booked for them.
If the booking form is being accessed by a normal user (or on behalf of a user), their shifts are clearly highlighted on the system. Shifts booked by other users are normally simply marked as "Booked" (unless the booking form is being accessed by an administrator where the other user's names are shown - as in the illustration above).
Shifts that are available to book are shown with their times and rates of pay (if required) and simply clicking on the shift can book it. The idea is to make it as easy as possible to book shifts.
The system responds by sending a confirmation email to the person working the shift (with a calendar attachment). Prior to the shift being worked (normally the day before) the system sends a reminder email and (if required) can send an SMS (Text) message normally one hour before the shift start as a further reminder. The SMS reminders can be configured to go the previous day, 2 days earlier etc., or not at all.
To be able to manage this, the system maintains a database of information on each user and a history of transactions with many various reports available
Of course, no organisation can function without excellent communications. Built into the rota system is a comprehensive communications system utilising email, SMS (Text) messaging and on-system messaging. The on-system messaging provides a fully secure two way messaging system between the administrators and individual users, with encryption at rest for messages in the database and enforced encryption between the users and the system.
The built-in email system allows for sending to specific groups of users and with the enhanced logging system, the distribution of the email can be easily tracked (for instance, where a user has said they have not received an email, it is possible to track the email transaction to show the delivery). The SMS system also tracks delivery (where the destination network provides this). SMS messages are typically delivered in under 7 seconds providing a very instant form of communication and invaluable where urgent information must be delivered reliably.
The logging system records all actions taken on the system so it is always easy to ask the question "Who did that?" The log does not allow deletion or alteration of records so it provides an absolute audit of actions taken on the system. In addition to system log, all actions taken on the booking form are recorded against each shift, so a full history of actions taken on each shift is readily available.
A clocking in/out system is available and the system can generate timesheets with the ability for users to accept them prior to being passed to payroll for further processing. For GPs, the system can generate SOLO forms directly from the booking system so eliminating the possibility for mistakes.
The Adjustments System allows for the entry of adjustments against individual shifts - if, for instance, a GP has had to work beyond the booked shift time, or where a standby worker is called in to work. Additionally, an optional adjustment request system can be used for individuals to request an adjustment to the shift worked, and these requests can be accepted, changed or rejected.
Security is baked into the system from the ground up. Passwords are stored using a salted hash system which is the industry standard for safe storage and means that even we cannot recover a lost password. So the system employs a system to allow individuals to request a password reset link which must be sent to their registered email address.
The SQL system upon which the database is built is directly available to the administrators for extracting any information required. Whilst administrators can access this data, they are not able to make any changes to it - thus providing data security. An administrator accessible ad-hoc SQL based reporting system allows the writing of database based reports which can be saved to the system as "Saved Reports".
As well as catering for fixed rates of pay, the system also allows for rate tables which allow complex rates of pay for contracted staff or staff on different contracted rates of pay.
Fundamental to the concept of the system is the self management of an individuals work. The idea is that each user owns their shifts and is responsible for them. So, the system provides for both selling and swapping shifts. In selling, someone puts a shift up for sale and another user buys it. By putting the burden of selling the shift on the owner of the shift, it enforces the principal that the individual is responsible for either working it or finding someone else to work it.
In swapping, the shift owner puts the shift up to swap. Other users on the system then offer their shifts to swap with the first one, and the owner of the original shift can then choose one of the offers to swap with.
In both cases, the system handles the swap/sale and generates the confirmation emails to each individual involved.
The content management system allows for the adding and editing of an unlimited number of pages on the system and uses the menu system to make them available to users. The same system can be used for creating content for viewing for users who have not logged into the system (the default is that users need to be logged in before the pages are accessible).
The same system is used to create and modify email templates. Email templates are a mail-merge type system where keywords are replaced with information generated on the system, allowing for highly dynamic emails. Emails generated automatically by the system for various events (such as reminders) use the templates so that additional information can be dynamically included, as well as allowing attachments to be automatically added.
Harris Retail Services provides the hosting and support for the system and monitors the systems continuously. Each night, four separate backups are made of client systems (the backups use four different techniques which each provide a different path to recovery depending on any issue encountered.
The fixed shift system allows the booking of shifts for an individual on a weekly, bi-weekly, monthly or any other rotation. An administrator books the shift once, and the system will then book the actual shift on the matching dates.
When set up as "Day in Month" the system displays a 5 week system (the 5th week is only used for the extra days in the month beyond the 28th of the month. Shifts are entered in the "1st Tuesday in the Month", or the "3rd Wednesday in the Month". Of course the 1st Wednesday in a particular month may occur before the 1st Monday of the month (if for instance the 1st of the month is a Tuesday or Wednesday).
The rolling week system can be set up to rotate on as many weeks as required. Typically, rolling weeks are set up on 1 week, 4 weeks, 8 weeks or 13 weeks. When the last Sunday of the last week is encountered, the system starts again on the first Monday of the system, rolling forward indefinitely. To make it easy to see to which dates a particular shift relates, we provide a calendar and holding the mouse over a shift will list the future dates for that particular shift.
Where the fixed shift system is used for contracted staff, the rates of pay can be overridden or automatically changed (by a percentage) from the normal rates of pay for the particular shift.
No comprehensive system would be complete without an extensive reporting system. The Harris Rota System has a very full reporting system allowing detailed interrogation of the systems data,
Reports are available in two sections: General Reports and Financial Reports:
In addition to the above reports there is a very capable report writing system using the built in SQL server.
N.B. Not all reports are available on all systems as it depends on setup options on a particular system.
Reports can be generated to display on the screen, downloaded as a PDF or downloaded as a CSV (which can then be opened in Excel or other spreadsheet programs).
We now have an iPhone app available for non-administrators to use the system directly on their own mobile phone (the Android app is currently in Beta Testing - please contact us if you would like to take part in that testing). Optimised for the iPhone screen and for mobile connections, the app eases the main operations used by individuals.
The app securely connects to the system server and makes it easy to find available shifts and communicate securely with the system administrators.
Security is intrinsic into the system from the ground up. Using firewalls, highly restrictive access and encryption, the system uses the very best security methods and security updates are installed as soon as they become available. Passwords are stored using the industry best practice salted hash system. We also provide a secure message system to allow safe messaging between individuals and administrators.
We enforce SSL encryption between end-users and the system (https, not http). Those end-users using older TLSv1.2 (such as with Internet Explorer) connections are advised to upgrade to a browser using TLSv1.3. At some point we will disable TLSv1.2 completely.
Where the system generates pro-forma invoices, SOLO forms or timesheets, we do not email the documents to individual users, but instead email them stating the documents are available on the system and can be downloaded over a secure link.
The system has a large number of pre-defined rules such as the 11 hour working rule. Bespoke rules can be set up on a system such as "In order to work a week-night shift the user must first have booked a week-end shift", or "No more than 2 week-night shifts can be worked in a given week".
Provided the rule can be clearly stated and is unambiguous, rules can be written into the system.
We have developed an Adastra integration where we can match up GPs and Nurses with their Adastra accounts (without requiring a login match) by using the GMC registration number of Nurses PIN. The link allows the rota system to pre-populate Adastra duty stations with the correct GP/Nurse.
There is no limit on how many booking forms can be accomodated on a single system. The number and types of booking forms will depend only on how you want your own system organised. By using a heirarchial menu system it is very easy to navigatee a large number of booking forms.
We also have the ability to show only relevant booking forms to various types of user on the system, so only administrators can see the full set.
Once you have provided us with your exact requirements for each booking form, rates of pay etc., together with any rules you want established, we can provision a server, register a domain and prepare a system in under a week.
We can also organise training around your specific requirements.
We provide in excess of 99.98% system uptime. When a new kernel becomes available (every 6 weeks or so), we perform a reboot of the system which generally takes under 10 minutes. We schedule this for around 5am. Other updates do not result in system downtime.
Well done-this booking system is excellent!
I think the system itself is excellent and am particularly impressed with its ease of use even for a complete I.T. duffer like me.
Just to give some positive feedback. I have found the website very user-friendly and quick to access. It makes organising shifts very simple.
Putting out-of-hours shifts online has seen more GPs take slots. We even have doctors booking shifts who thought they would give up out-of-hours work but who find it so easy to match their workload to their home life that they are taking up shifts.