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: Smart balloon catheters.

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

Smart balloon catheters are a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Catheterisation procedures often involve the use of a standard balloon catheter, which is a soft catheter with an inflating balloon at its tip used to dilate a narrowed orifice or channel. Smart balloon catheters are integrated with mechanical vibration and strain gauges, electrical conductance sensors, and thermocouples for percutaneous diagnostic or therapeutic procedures, such as dilating vasculature, removing blockages, and delivering stents.

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 smart balloon catheters.

Key players in smart balloon catheters – 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 smart balloon catheters

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Abbott Laboratories 148 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 140 Unlock company profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 99 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 97 Unlock company profile
Bracco 58 Unlock company profile
Potrero Medical 47 Unlock company profile
Boston Scientific 29 Unlock company profile
Shifamed 28 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 24 Unlock company profile
Sentinel Medical Technologies 24 Unlock company profile
Baxter International 22 Unlock company profile
Olympus 18 Unlock company profile
MC10 18 Unlock company profile
SpineLOOP 17 Unlock company profile
Observe Medical 13 Unlock company profile
DexCom 13 Unlock company profile
TE Connectivity 12 Unlock company profile
UroDev Medical 12 Unlock company profile
Pneumoflex Systems 12 Unlock company profile
Terumo 10 Unlock company profile
Orion Biotech 10 Unlock company profile
Asahi Intecc 9 Unlock company profile
Berlinger & Co 9 Unlock company profile
Xenter 8 Unlock company profile
Cannuflow 8 Unlock company profile
Broncus Medical 8 Unlock company profile
Groupe Industriel Marcel Dassault 8 Unlock company profile
B. Braun Melsungen 7 Unlock company profile
Piccolo Medical 7 Unlock company profile
Rainbow Medical 7 Unlock company profile
Star Syringe 7 Unlock company profile
Alcyone Lifesciences 6 Unlock company profile
Electus Medical 6 Unlock company profile
HEXACATH 6 Unlock company profile
Ptt Holding 6 Unlock company profile
Voyant Diagnostics 5 Unlock company profile
APN Health 5 Unlock company profile
3DT Holdings 5 Unlock company profile
Interventional Autonomics 5 Unlock company profile
TheraNova 5 Unlock company profile
Sequana Medical 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Abbott Laboratoriesis one of the leading patent filers in the field of Smart Balloon catheters. Some other key patent filers in the field include Koninlijke Philips, Becton Dickinson, Johnson & Johnson and Bracco.

In terms of application diversity, Ptt leads the pack, followed by Voyant Diagnostics and Observe Medical, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Orion Biotech held the top position, followed by SpineLOOP and Becton Dickinson in second and third spots, respectively.

Smart balloon catheters have a promising future in various minimally invasive diagnostic and therapeutic procedures. The advancement in the stretchable electronic material using micro and nanotechnology increases the scope for innovations in the industry. The technology not only provides biologically similar stretchable elastomers but also results in high fidelity digital information with highly sensitive and accurate information. The technology provides operational effectiveness, cost savings and patient satisfaction to the healthcare sector.

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.