Editor's Note: For more articles from the May issue of PorKNetwork magazine, click here.

If you are involved in food-animal production, then you and your veterinarian likely have a close relationship, but that relationship is becoming more important than ever.

Regulatory demands on the animal health industry have significantly increased the paperwork requirements of veterinarians. Animal health professionals must be even more precise and more efficient with their paperwork. A number of new regulations and guidelines make a veterinarian’s role even more critical to producers.

To balance the workload of serving clients more quickly and efficiently while tackling required paperwork with precision and ensuring regulatory compliance, business-savvy veterinarians are finding new tools to replace handwritten certificates, multiple data entry points and slow fax or snail mail communication.

Digital solutions are finding favor with veterinarians, as they help streamline the process and make compliance with regulations easier and faster.

Carthage Veterinary Service, Carthage, Ill., is among the veterinary clinics that have been trendsetters in adopting digital solutions. With seven swine veterinarians and four mixed-animal veterinarians, the business’ swine practice provides veterinary support to a cooperative comprised of more than 200 family farmers with a total of 100,000 sows. On the consulting side, Carthage Veterinary Services works with farmers and production companies throughout the Midwest and internationally.

“People forget sometimes that veterinarians have the same recordkeeping requirements as medical doctors,” explains Aaron Lower, DVM with Carthage Veterinary Service. “We must have a complete and accurate medical record, which includes all prescriptions. The structure of our business, however, is different than medical doctors in that we veterinarians are on the road and not in a central office or hospital.”

Lower, who was recently recognized as the Young Swine Veterinarian of the Year by the American Association of Swine Veterinarians (AASV) adds, “Thanks to advances in technology—laptop and tablet computers, smart phones, the Internet and tools such as those provided by GlobalVetLINK (GVL), we stay on top of required recordkeeping. It’s easy to keep records on a web-based program that is secure yet easily accessible.”

Carthage Veterinary Service is always looking for better ways of doing things. When the business found a platform that could handle the variety of recordkeeping tasks required of veterinarians, it was an easy decision to go for it. Once a veterinarian commits to a prescription, then GVL automatically sends the veterinary feed directive to the feed mill and to the producer involved.

“Having a program that allows us to communicate electronically directly with the feed mill and producers is convenient and saves a lot of time,” Lower says. “Plus no one is trying to figure out a veterinarian’s handwriting. Thanks to the software program used, accuracy and legibility of information are improved.”

Lower notes that producers also benefit when veterinarians use digital solutions for recordkeeping.

“When a producer needs a CVI (certificate of veterinary inspection), we can provide an accurate and legible document in seconds,” he states. “And producers who keep their records electronically can easily sort documents that are digital. That’s another reason why we use GlobalVetLINK’s online software program.”

“Developments are turning digital technology into a complete herd-health solution that links the veterinarian, livestock producers, drug distributors, feed distributors and animal health suppliers to products requiring regulatory approval with a single source,” says Heather Van Lin, senior product manager for GlobalVetLINK. “This platform provides accurate and precise herd health and wellness information.

“Digital documentation supplied by the veterinarian to their clients will be fundamental to validating food safety and animal wellness as all stakeholders in animal agriculture strive for more efficiency and sustainability,” adds Van Lin.