Leveraging advances in consumer electronics and wireless telecommunications, low-cost, portable optical imaging devices have the potential to improve screening and detection of disease at the point of care in primary health care settings in both low- and high-resource countries. Similarly, real-time optical imaging technologies can improve diagnosis and treatment at the point of procedure by circumventing the need for biopsy and analysis by expert pathologists, who are scarce in developing countries. Although many optical imaging technologies have been translated from bench to bedside, industry support is needed to commercialize and broadly disseminate these from the patient level to the population level to transform the standard of care. This review provides an overview of promising optical imaging technologies, the infrastructure needed to integrate them into widespread clinical use, and the challenges that must be addressed to harness the potential of these technologies to improve health care systems around the world.
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