Electronic Document ManagementThe Washington Department of Agriculture is moving towards developing an animal traceability system to search diseased and at-risk animals. The system is expected to enable rapid response in the event of disease outbreak. The aim of the Animal Disease Traceability (ADT) project is to eradicate infectious and contagious livestock diseases and to modernize methods and processes, such as collecting information related to animal health, animal movement, and change of ownership.

The state’s initiative to build an Animal Tracks searchable database came after they discovered a fatal neurodegenerative disease in cows, bovine spongiform encephalitis in 2003. Though it was established that the cow was exposed in Canada, the department could not locate all cows that ate the same feed there.

Talking about the venture, retired state veterinarian Leonard Eldridge stressed the need for an electronic document management system. Searching through paper records is time-consuming. The documents included in the Department of Agriculture usually include the following information data related to animal movement, brand information, test reports, change of ownership and disease related data. The logic is that once the data entry and document scanning tasks are completed, it would improve efficacy and reduce the chances of errors in the electronic animal traceability system. Expected benefits include

  • Advanced search capabilities
  • Easy conversion from one format to another
  • Improved security of the records
  • Backup for disaster recovery

In addition to the ease of management of documents, an efficient computerized document management would allow sharing of documents among relevant personnel wherever they are located which would improve animal traceability and regulatory compliance.

Estimated to cost $440,000 each year for two years, the future cost of maintaining the system is still uncertain. However, as the department is going ahead with its plans, it’s clear that the benefits will far outweigh the costs. Many state departments, educational institutions and judicial offices are going ahead with digitization. Professional document conversion companies are helping them in this drive to improve workflow efficiency, save time, and cut costs.