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, as well as 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: AI-assisted medical image smoothing

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 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

AI-assisted medical image smoothing is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence 

Medical image smoothing allows the software to decrease image noise and chromatic aberration. Most smoothing algorithms use low-pass filters, however, the average or median of a moving set of pixels can also be used as well. 

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of AI-assisted medical image smoothing. 

Key players in AI-assisted medical image smoothing – 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 AI-assisted medical image smoothing

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Enlitic 58 Unlock company profile
Canon 24 Unlock company profile
General Electric 22 Unlock company profile
Siemens 18 Unlock company profile
Tencent Holdings 11 Unlock company profile
ASAN Foundation 10 Unlock company profile
Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare 8 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 8 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 8 Unlock company profile
Bozhon Precision Work Technology 5 Unlock company profile
Hyperfine 5 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 5 Unlock company profile
Medical IP 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Enlitic is the leading patent filer in the AI-assisted medical image smoothing. Some other leading patent filers include Canon and General Electric

In terms of application diversity, Enlitic leads the pack, followed by Bozhon Precision Work Technology and Koninklijke Philips. With regards to geographic reach, Medical IP leads, followed by International Business Machines (IBM) and Koninklijke Philips

Various AI systems are being developed to enhance medical image reconstruction and reduce image noises that hamper the medical diagnosis process. The technique aids in the efficient data interpretation of medical images, expediting the disease diagnosis process.

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.