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 shape model segmentation.

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 shape model segmentation is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Active shape models (ASMs) iteratively deform to fit to an object in a fresh picture. ASM employs a statistical shape model (SSM) to confine segmentations to 'plausible' shapes. This allows robust segmentation of low-contrast organs. Faces, mechanical components, and medical images have been analysed using the technique (in 2D and 3D).

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 80+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of active shape model segmentation.

Key players in active shape model segmentation – 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 shape model segmentation

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Heartflow 241 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 211 Unlock company profile
Stryker 131 Unlock company profile
Siemens 107 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 105 Unlock company profile
Enlitic 97 Unlock company profile
Canon 82 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 76 Unlock company profile
Hologic 61 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 60 Unlock company profile
CathWorks 47 Unlock company profile
Magic Leap 45 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 44 Unlock company profile
Boston Scientific 44 Unlock company profile
Toshiba 41 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 33 Unlock company profile
Align Technology 31 Unlock company profile
Olympus 31 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 29 Unlock company profile
General Electric 27 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 27 Unlock company profile
Konica Minolta 26 Unlock company profile
EcoSense Lighting 25 Unlock company profile
Alcon 25 Unlock company profile
Toshiba Medical Systems 23 Unlock company profile
MyFiziq 21 Unlock company profile
Oracle 19 Unlock company profile
DuPont de Nemours 16 Unlock company profile
AbbVie 16 Unlock company profile
SymphonyAI Group 14 Unlock company profile
Vuno 13 Unlock company profile
ODP 12 Unlock company profile
Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare 12 Unlock company profile
RDI Technologies 12 Unlock company profile
EDDA Technology 12 Unlock company profile
Elekta 11 Unlock company profile
Shanghai United Imaging Intelligence 11 Unlock company profile
EchoNous 11 Unlock company profile
NovaRad 11 Unlock company profile
BrainLAB 11 Unlock company profile
Panasonic 11 Unlock company profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 10 Unlock company profile
Zimmer Biomet Holdings 10 Unlock company profile
Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research 10 Unlock company profile
Lymphatech 10 Unlock company profile
Coreline Soft 9 Unlock company profile
Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics 9 Unlock company profile
Caption Health 9 Unlock company profile
Varex Imaging 9 Unlock company profile
Siris Medical 9 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Heartflow is the leading patent filer in the active shape model segmentation. Some other leading patent filers include Koninklijke Philips and Stryker.

In terms of application diversity, Magic Leap leads, followed by Varex Imaging and EchoNous. With regards to geographic reach, MyFiziq leads, followed by Stryker and Siris Medical.

The ASM is a model-based technique that uses a previous model of the predicted contents of the image and normally seeks to locate the optimal spot for matching the model and the data in a fresh image. It has been effectively used to solve a variety of issues, and the AI emergence is advancing the active shape model.

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.