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: Medical imaging for pathology screening.

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

Medical imaging for pathology screening is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

In pathology, scanning and imaging are done from preserved and processed specimens, for retrospective studies even from slides stored in a biobank. Pathology looks for abnormalities from a histological point of view and radiology looks for abnormalities from a macro point of view. This is especially true in cancer diagnoses, where pathology and radiology come together to improve the accuracy of the diagnosis. Huge improvements in medical imaging technologies in pathology will continue to drive this market forward, improving the quality of patient care

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 medical imaging for pathology screening.

Key players in medical imaging for pathology screening – 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 medical imaging for pathology screening

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Heartflow 246 Unlock company profile
Stryker 72 Unlock company profile
Theator 30 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 19 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 14 Unlock company profile
DuPont de Nemours 11 Unlock company profile
Paige.AI 7 Unlock company profile
Danaher 7 Unlock company profile
Merck & Co 7 Unlock company profile
Topcon 6 Unlock company profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 6 Unlock company profile
Sumitomo Chemical 5 Unlock company profile
Turkey Wealth Fund 5 Unlock company profile
Arterys 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Heartflow is one of the leading patent filers in the field of medical imaging for pathology screening. Some other key patent filers in the field include Stryker and Theator.

In terms of application diversity, Stryker leads the pack, followed by Heartflow and Turkey Wealth Fund, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Stryker held the top position, followed by Danaher and DuPont de Nemours in the second and third spots, respectively.

The importance of medical imaging is growing in biomedical research and pathological screening. It enables physicians to discover disease, monitor progression, or treat conditions more profoundly. An integrated diagnostic reporting system that supports medical imaging in pathological screening and enhances patient care can be developed with technological improvements.

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.