The Twin Ports is home to healthcare that's considered first-rate - with two systems centering in Duluth. Both St. Luke's and Essentia have made considerable investments in their facilities and campuses over the past few years, with some other significant upgrade plans coming in the immediate future.

Obstetrics and gynecology are two somewhat related fields that both healthcare providers in Duluth have focused some of their resources on. One of the two just received new accreditation for some of that work.

St. Luke's recently earned "the Ultrasound Practice Accreditation Award Council of the American Institute of Ultrasound (AIUM) in Medicine's ultrasound practice accreditation for OB Trimester Specific and Gynecologic Ultrasound".

Without taking anything away from the medical meaning behind the honor, it basically means that patients - especially those families trusting the facility to care for and deliver their baby - can trust that St. Luke's meets the requirements needed. Here is a more-detailed description of what the accreditation means provided by St. Luke's:

"St. Luke's Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates achieved accreditation by meeting rigorous and voluntary guidelines set by the diagnostic ultrasound profession. All areas of the practice were assessed, including the training and qualifications of physicians and sonographers, ultrasound equipment maintenance, documentation, policies and procedures protecting patients and staff, and the technical quality and interpretation of the sonograms the practice performs."

Ultrasounds provide a critical tool in the process of childbirth. The accreditation helps to validate the service that St. Luke's provides. Mitch Gifford - St. Luke's Obstetrics and Gynecology Associates Clinic Manager - explains:

"Performing ultrasounds is a crucial part of the services we provide. Ultrasounds assist Obstetricians to better assess development of a baby, a mother's placenta, and uterus by using sound waves to show us a picture of what's happening inside. Ultrasound is also used for screening to rule out problems that may require special care. We know how important this is to our patients, therefore we have done to work (sic) to ensure that we are delivering the highest quality of care during this process."

The AIUM is a "multidisciplinary medical association of nearly 10,000 physicians". St. Luke's is a regional health care system headquartered in Duluth, serving approximately 500,000 residents in the Northland.

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