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 Cloud in Healthcare: AI-assisted medical image analysis

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), 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 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 

AI-assisted medical image analysis is a key innovation area in cloud 

Artificial Intelligence (AI) is used for the development of algorithms that can carry out activities such as decision-making, visual and speech recognitions and translating languages. AI has shown exceptional sensitivity and accuracy in identifying abnormalities in imaging and can potentially enhance tissue-based detection and characterisation significantly. 

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 30 companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of AI-assisted medical image analysis. 

Key players in AI-assisted medical image analysis – 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 AI-assisted medical image analysis

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Enlitic 57 Unlock company profile
Hologic 39 Unlock company profile
General Electric 27 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 22 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 21 Unlock company profile
Siemens 20 Unlock company profile
Canon 20 Unlock company profile
Vektor Medical 18 Unlock company profile
Heuron 16 Unlock company profile
Eyenuk 16 Unlock company profile
Panasonic 14 Unlock company profile
GC 11 Unlock company profile
Konica Minolta 10 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 9 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 9 Unlock company profile
3Shape 8 Unlock company profile
Vitrolife 7 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 7 Unlock company profile
Beijing SenseTime Technology Development 6 Unlock company profile
Tencent Holdings 6 Unlock company profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 6 Unlock company profile
iCAD 6 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 6 Unlock company profile
Raysearch Laboratories 6 Unlock company profile
Shanghai United Imaging Intelligence 5 Unlock company profile
Stryker 5 Unlock company profile
Intuitive Surgical 5 Unlock company profile
Agfa-Gevaert 5 Unlock company profile
Toshiba 5 Unlock company profile
Akita Prefectural Hospital Organization 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Enlitic is the leading patent filer in AI-assisted medical image analysis. Some other leading patent filers include Hologic and General Electric.  

In terms of application diversity, Vektor Medical leads the pack, followed by Intuitive Surgical and Johnson & Johnson. With regards to geographic reach, Johnson & Johnson leads, followed by GC, Sony Group, and Toshiba

Cloud storage simplifies the use of web servers for medical professionals and institutions for the safe storage of a vast amount of data. The electronic medical records (EMR) mandate has led to the use of cloud-based solutions by medical businesses to store and secure their patient records, ensuring better patient involvement. It provides real-time access to medical information. 

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.