The healthcare industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by telemedicine, real-time diagnostics, smart hospitals and access to digital therapies, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), robotics and data management practices. In the last three years alone, there have been over 106,000 patents filed and granted in the healthcare industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: Active contour based diagnosis models.

However, not all innovations are equal and nor do they follow a constant upward trend. Instead, their evolution takes the form of an S-shaped curve that reflects their typical lifecycle from early emergence to accelerating adoption, before finally stabilising and reaching maturity.

Identifying where a particular innovation is on this journey, especially those that are in the emerging and accelerating stages, is essential for understanding their current level of adoption and the likely future trajectory and impact they will have.

200+ innovations will shape the healthcare industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the healthcare industry using innovation intensity models built on over 443,000 patents, there are 200+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, drug delivery device security, microscopic image analysis models, and cellular imaging techniques are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Smart balloon catheters, automated immunoassay analysers, and AI-assisted magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are smart fitness training system and non-invasive physiological monitoring, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the healthcare industry

Active contour-based diagnosis model is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

A segmentation method known as "active contour" separates the image's important pixels for further processing and analysis by applying energy forces and limitations.

GlobalData’s analysis also uncovers the companies at the forefront of each innovation area and assesses the potential reach and impact of their patenting activity across different applications and geographies. According to GlobalData, there are 300+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of active contour-based diagnosis models.

Key players in active contour-based diagnosis models – a disruptive innovation in the healthcare industry  

‘Application diversity’ measures the number of different applications identified for each relevant patent and broadly splits companies into either ‘niche’ or ‘diversified’ innovators.

‘Geographic reach’ refers to the number of different countries each relevant patent is registered in and reflects the breadth of geographic application intended, ranging from ‘global’ to ‘local’.

Patent volumes related to active contour based diagnosis models

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Koninklijke Philips 1332 Unlock company profile
Siemens 822 Unlock company profile
Heartflow 569 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 523 Unlock company profile
Canon 482 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 367 Unlock company profile
General Electric 363 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 305 Unlock company profile
Toshiba 290 Unlock company profile
Konica Minolta 281 Unlock company profile
Stryker 224 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 207 Unlock company profile
Hologic 159 Unlock company profile
Toshiba Medical Systems 142 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 122 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 119 Unlock company profile
Microsoft 117 Unlock company profile
Olympus 114 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 112 Unlock company profile
BrainLAB 108 Unlock company profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 102 Unlock company profile
Enlitic 100 Unlock company profile
CathWorks 94 Unlock company profile
Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare 85 Unlock company profile
Bayer 83 Unlock company profile
Tencent Holdings 82 Unlock company profile
Furukawa 82 Unlock company profile
Sumitomo Chemical 78 Unlock company profile
Panasonic 72 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 58 Unlock company profile
Shimadzu 54 Unlock company profile
Applied Lifesciences & Systems 53 Unlock company profile
Elekta 51 Unlock company profile
NEC 51 Unlock company profile
Heuron 50 Unlock company profile
Lunit 49 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 48 Unlock company profile
Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China 47 Unlock company profile
Kheiron Medical Technologies 43 Unlock company profile
Dental Monitoring 43 Unlock company profile
ASAN Foundation 40 Unlock company profile
Paige.AI 39 Unlock company profile
Magic Leap 39 Unlock company profile
Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics 39 Unlock company profile
Synaptive Medical 37 Unlock company profile
NuVasive 35 Unlock company profile
Nikon 34 Unlock company profile
Align Technology 32 Unlock company profile
Shanghai United Imaging Intelligence 31 Unlock company profile
Cosmo Pharmaceuticals 31 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Koninklijke Philips is the leading patent filer in the active contour-based diagnosis models. Some other leading patent filers include Siemens and Heartflow.

In terms of application diversity, Applied LifeSciences & Systems leads, followed by Magic Leap and Abbott Laboratories. With regards to geographic reach, Magic Leap leads, followed by Applied LifeSciences & Systems and NuVasive.

One of the techniques most frequently employed in the segmentation of medical images is Active Contour (AC), also known as Deformable Models, which is based on variational models and partial differential equations (PDEs). It separates the important pixels from a picture for further processing and analysis using energy forces and restrictions. Active contours are mostly used in image processing to create closed contours for regions and define smooth shapes in images. It is mostly used to spot asymmetrical shapes in pictures.

To further understand how artificial intelligence is disrupting the healthcare industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Artificial Intelligence (AI) in Healthcare.

GlobalData, the leading provider of industry intelligence, provided the underlying data, research, and analysis used to produce this article.

GlobalData’s Patent Analytics tracks patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Textual analysis and official patent classifications are used to group patents into key thematic areas and link them to specific companies across the world’s largest industries.