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: Surgical spectroscopy. 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 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

Surgical spectroscopy is a key  innovation area in artificial intelligence

Surgical spectroscopy is fundamental to differentiate between healthy and cancerous tissue. It identifies spectral alterations related to biochemistry of cancerous cells and further employs a diagnostic algorithm to provide critical tissue phenotype and functional biochemistry data of surgical pathology during surgery. With its ability for safe resection and minimal injury to surrounding organs, surgical spectroscopy is expected to show strong adoption in the coming years.

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 surgical spectroscopy.

Key players in surgical spectroscopy – 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 surgical spectroscopy

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Johnson & Johnson 383 Unlock company profile
Stryker 170 Unlock company profile
Waters 157 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 141 Unlock company profile
Baxter International 141 Unlock company profile
Smith & Nephew 119 Unlock company profile
Intuitive Surgical 104 Unlock company profile
Synaptive Medical 89 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 88 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 81 Unlock company profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 71 Unlock company profile
Olympus 43 Unlock company profile
EBM 42 Unlock company profile
Siemens 41 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 40 Unlock company profile
Boston Scientific 36 Unlock company profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 27 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 25 Unlock company profile
BrainLAB 22 Unlock company profile
Canon 19 Unlock company profile
Asensus Surgical 19 Unlock company profile
Autonomix Medical 18 Unlock company profile
SpineLOOP 17 Unlock company profile
Carl Zeiss Stiftung 16 Unlock company profile
Zimmer Biomet Holdings 16 Unlock company profile
Thermo Fisher Scientific 15 Unlock company profile
Kardium 15 Unlock company profile
Alcon 14 Unlock company profile
Mortara Instrument 14 Unlock company profile
Monteris Medical 14 Unlock company profile
NovaRad 13 Unlock company profile
General Electric 13 Unlock company profile
dorsaVi 13 Unlock company profile
MediBeacon 12 Unlock company profile
Fresenius & Co 12 Unlock company profile
HyperMed Imaging 12 Unlock company profile
Theator 11 Unlock company profile
Magic Leap 11 Unlock company profile
SOMARK Innovations 11 Unlock company profile
CMR Surgical 10 Unlock company profile
Align Technology 10 Unlock company profile
Wistron 10 Unlock company profile
XACT Robotics 10 Unlock company profile
Grupo P.I. Mabe 10 Unlock company profile
Accuray 10 Unlock company profile
Adagio Medical 9 Unlock company profile
Intellijoint Surgical 9 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 8 Unlock company profile
General Hospital 8 Unlock company profile
MolecuLight 8 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Johnson & Johnson is the leading patent filer in the surgical spectroscopy market. Some other leading patent filers include Stryker and Waters.

In terms of application diversity, MolecuLight leads, followed by Alcon and Fresenius. With regards to geographic reach, Autonomix Medical leads, followed by Stryker and Becton Dickinson.

Surgical spectroscopy has become a crucial surgical aid for patients with cancer and its increased accessibility will be game changing. Not only does it enable accurate tissue identification, but also provides room for manual intraoperative adjustments to enhance visualisation of remaining tumour tissue. Further technological advancements to improve patient access, safety and outcomes, may boost the market size of this field at a lucrative rate.

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

Premium Insights


The gold standard of business intelligence.

Blending expert knowledge with cutting-edge technology, GlobalData’s unrivalled proprietary data will enable you to decode what’s happening in your market. You can make better informed decisions and gain a future-proof advantage over your competitors.


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.