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 Cloud in Healthcare: 3D modelling and rendering.

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, software as a medical device (SaMD), augmented reality/virtual reality (AR/VR) medical imaging interfaces, and automated clinical documentation are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Medical image display devices, 3D modelling and rendering, and AI-assisted electronic health records (EHR) are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are wearable fitness monitors and medical device secure data transmission, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for cloud in the healthcare industry

3D modelling and rendering is a key innovation area in cloud

A computer graphics technique called 3D rendering makes use of three-dimensional models and data. A lifelike or non-photorealistic image is what is desired. A 3D model is a digital representation of an object made with software or through 3D scanning. An additional type of virtual photography is 3D rendering.

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 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of 3D modelling and rendering.

Key players in 3D modelling and rendering – 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 3D modelling and rendering

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Heartflow Inc 327 Unlock company profile
Stryker Corp 148 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips NV 101 Unlock company profile
Boston Scientific Corp 50 Unlock company profile
Align Technology Inc 49 Unlock company profile
EBM Corp 42 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 40 Unlock company profile
Dentsply Sirona Inc 38 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings Corp 37 Unlock company profile
Smith & Nephew Plc 30 Unlock company profile
EcoSense Lighting Inc 25 Unlock company profile
Siemens AG 22 Unlock company profile
NovaRad Corp 19 Unlock company profile
Vektor Medical Inc 18 Unlock company profile
Surgical Theater LLC 17 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 17 Unlock company profile
Synaptive Medical Inc 16 Unlock company profile
ResMed Inc 14 Unlock company profile
Alcon Inc 14 Unlock company profile
SymphonyAI Group 14 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines Corp 13 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 13 Unlock company profile
Medtronic Plc 12 Unlock company profile
Furukawa Co Ltd 12 Unlock company profile
Materialise NV 12 Unlock company profile
Medit Corp 11 Unlock company profile
Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare Co Ltd 11 Unlock company profile
Axial Medical Printing Ltd 10 Unlock company profile
Carl Zeiss Stiftung AG 10 Unlock company profile
Magic Leap Inc 10 Unlock company profile
Accuray Inc 9 Unlock company profile
Nant Holdings Ip, LLC 9 Unlock company profile
Sony Group Corp 9 Unlock company profile
CMR Surgical Ltd 8 Unlock company profile
3M Co 8 Unlock company profile
Calgary Scientific Inc 8 Unlock company profile
Intuitive Surgical Inc 8 Unlock company profile
EchoPixel Inc 8 Unlock company profile
Canon Inc 8 Unlock company profile
Zaxis Labs 8 Unlock company profile
Wuxi EA Medical Instruments Technologies Ltd 7 Unlock company profile
StoryUP Studios 7 Unlock company profile
Meta Platforms Inc 7 Unlock company profile
Envista Holdings Corp 7 Unlock company profile
FEops nv 6 Unlock company profile
Raysearch Laboratories AB 6 Unlock company profile
Peacs BV 6 Unlock company profile
Butterfly Network Inc 5 Unlock company profile
Ivoclar Vivadent AG 5 Unlock company profile
Montefiore Medical Center 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Heartflow is the leading patent filer in 3D modelling and rendering. Some other leading patent filers include Stryker and Koninklijke Philips.

In terms of application diversity, CMR Surgical leads, followed by Vektor Medical and ResMed. With regards to geographic reach, Magic Leap leads, followed by CMR Surgical and Stryker.

In all clinical specialities, 3D modelling will make it easier to view anatomical images, improving diagnosis, surgery planning, education, and outcomes. The overarching objective is to develop a future state in which clinicians will be able to interact with human anatomy and pathology in a way that has never been possible before. With 3D modelling, there is much unrealised potential for better comprehension.

To further understand how Cloud is disrupting the healthcare industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Cloud Computing 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.