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: Automated medical image recognition. Buy the report here.

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 

Automated medical image recognition is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence 

Medical Image Recognition using artificial intelligence can help with the diagnoses of many illnesses. The models may be trained to scan MRI or X-ray pictures as well as other visual outputs to find and flag medical anomalies. Automated medical image identification is expected to expand soon since it improves healthcare and enables doctors to diagnose illnesses more quickly, encouraging early intervention. 

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 40+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of automated medical image recognition. 

Key players in automated medical image recognition – 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 automated medical image recognition

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Heartflow 247 Unlock company profile
Smith & Nephew 136 Unlock company profile
Stryker 98 Unlock company profile
Enlitic 94 Unlock company profile
Siemens 66 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 65 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 52 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 45 Unlock company profile
Magic Leap 45 Unlock company profile
Boston Scientific 40 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 39 Unlock company profile
EcoSense Lighting 25 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 22 Unlock company profile
Olympus 21 Unlock company profile
Canon 19 Unlock company profile
Oracle 19 Unlock company profile
Theator 18 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 18 Unlock company profile
Avanos Medical 14 Unlock company profile
Digital Surgery 11 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 11 Unlock company profile
Align Technology 10 Unlock company profile
Zimmer Biomet Holdings 10 Unlock company profile
SymphonyAI Group 10 Unlock company profile
Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research 10 Unlock company profile
Intuitive Surgical 9 Unlock company profile
Hologic 9 Unlock company profile
Quantum Surgical 8 Unlock company profile
NEC 8 Unlock company profile
Terumo 8 Unlock company profile
Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare 7 Unlock company profile
Darmiyan 7 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 7 Unlock company profile
BrainLAB 6 Unlock company profile
DDH 6 Unlock company profile
Massachusetts General Hospital 6 Unlock company profile
PCAS Patient Care Automation Services 6 Unlock company profile
Shanghai United Imaging Intelligence 5 Unlock company profile
Nucleai 5 Unlock company profile
General Hospital 5 Unlock company profile
Furukawa 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Heartflow is one of the leading patent filers in the field of automated medical image recognition. Some other key patent filers in the field include Smith & Nephew and Stryker.  

In terms of application diversity, Magic Leap leads the pack, followed by Japanese Foundation for Cancer Research and EcoSense Lighting, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Stryker held the top position, with Avanos Medical and Patient Care Automation Services in second and third spots, respectively. 

To further understand how artificial intelligence is disrupting the healthcare industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on AI in Healthcare - 2021.

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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.