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Baby's first text

Rose Drake of Dickinson shows ultra-high 4K quality ultrasound images the Tricefy Ultrasound imaging platform provides. Photo by James B. Miller, Jr. / The Dickinson Press

The moment when an ultrasound confirms motherhood is so surreal and moving that it almost defies words.

A new innovative technology at Sanford Health West Dickinson seeks to bring that moment to a larger audience of friends and family with a new cloud-based digital system.

The platform has made it possible to send ultra-high 4K quality ultrasound images from a sonogram directly to a cellphone or tablet, where it can then be shared with the world through social media.

"This is my fifth child and I remember with my first child the ultrasound didn't even come with a printout image of my baby," expectant mother Rose Drake said. "With this new system in place here at Sanford, I got a high-quality, non-pixelated image instantaneously and my family were able to see the newest member of our family."

The new system is called Tricefy and was developed by Trice Imaging Inc. The platform allows for sonographers to text or email any provided phone number with a secure link to 3D ultrasound pictures or 4D videos.

"My family lives in Rapid City, so this was a great opportunity for them to see their grandchild at the same time I was seeing it," Drake said.

Ultrasound pictures and videos are special keepsakes for posterity for sure, but they also serve as vital resources for doctors during a patient's prenatal care. A study titled "The evolving role of ultrasound in obstetrics/gynecology practice" cited the numerous medical benefits of ultrasounds.

"Ultrasonography plays a pivotal role in assessing a pregnancy at risk for genetic defect," the report states. "With ultrasonography it is possible to make a definitive diagnosis of multiple concerns common in pregnancy."

Drake initially had concerns with her pregnancy.

"Because of my age and some complications, I was concerned greatly about this pregnancy. I sought out Sanford Health to get the latest technology currently available to ensure my pregnancy went smoothly," she said. "This system not only put me at ease, but alleviated a lot of concern my family had."

Historically ultrasound images were printed on thermal paper where they would find their way to refrigerator doors and scrapbooks or were entrusted to the care of the postal service when mailed to distant relatives. Over time the thermal paper diminishes and the pictures fades into memory—something the digital world has helped to eliminate.

"With the new system through Tricefy, patients can receive an image immediately and in high quality," Kerri Zimdars, an ultrasound technologist with Sanford Health, said.

Zimdars recalled the ultrasound technology available when she first began as a sonographer 29 years ago.

"I've seen a lot of changes," Zimdars said. "The first images were hard to even tell what we were looking at, but the images today are so clear that patients are even able to identify things like hair on the baby and facial features. It's really amazing."

With Tricefy, ultrasound images and videos are sent to a cloud-based system, where images are scrubbed of personal identifying information before being forwarded to all contact numbers provided.

Drake says she appreciates having her baby's images and videos readily accessible.

"It's comforting being able to open my phone and see my daughter," Drake says. "My mom said she wished this technology was available when she was pregnant. How lucky we are to be living in a time like this."

For more information about Tricefy or to schedule a sonogram with Sanford Health, call 701-456-6000, or visit