The democratization of ultrasound imaging refers to the process of making ultrasound technology more accessible. Traditionally, ultrasound imaging has been predominately used in specialized medical facilities by trained professionals. Advancements in technology and changes in the health-care landscape have inspired efforts to broaden the availability of ultrasound imaging to various settings such as remote and resource-limited areas. In this review, we highlight several key factors that have contributed to the ongoing democratization of ultrasound imaging, including portable and handheld devices, recent advancements in technology, and training and education. Examples of diagnostic point-of-care ultrasound (POCUS) imaging used in emergency and critical care, gastroenterology, musculoskeletal applications, and other practices are provided for both human and veterinary medicine. Open challenges and the future of POCUS imaging are presented, including the emerging role of artificial intelligence in technology development.

Expected final online publication date for the , Volume 26 is May 2024. Please see http://www.annualreviews.org/page/journal/pubdates for revised estimates.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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