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 Internet of Things in Healthcare: AI-assisted MRI

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, smart helmets, body temperature sensors, and software as a medical device (SaMD) are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Smart balloon catheters, point-of-care molecular diagnostics, and automated immunoassay analysers are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are smart contact lenses and GPS integrated fitness monitors, which are now well established in the industry.  

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the healthcare industry

AI-assisted MRI is a key innovation area in Internet of Things 

AI is intensively used in MRI due to the soft tissue contrast built-in for magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), the variety of structural and physiological acquisition arrangements, and its diagnostic potential. 

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 AI-assisted MRI. 

Key players in AI-assisted MRI – 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 MRI

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Siemens AG 263 Unlock company profile
Heartflow Inc 251 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips NV 170 Unlock company profile
Canon Inc 87 Unlock company profile
Toshiba Corp 83 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 79 Unlock company profile
Hitachi Ltd 73 Unlock company profile
General Electric Co 68 Unlock company profile
Bayer AG 64 Unlock company profile
Toshiba Medical Systems NV 35 Unlock company profile
Arterys Inc 33 Unlock company profile
Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare Co Ltd 32 Unlock company profile
Elekta AB 29 Unlock company profile
Heuron Co Ltd 24 Unlock company profile
Hyperfine Research Inc 24 Unlock company profile
BrainLAB AG 24 Unlock company profile
Synaptive Medical Inc 23 Unlock company profile
Hyperfine Inc 21 Unlock company profile
Assistance Publique - Hopitaux de Paris 19 Unlock company profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 17 Unlock company profile
Shimadzu Corp 16 Unlock company profile
Neurophet Inc 14 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 11 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines Corp 9 Unlock company profile
Ricoh Co Ltd 9 Unlock company profile
Massachusetts General Hospital 9 Unlock company profile
Medrad Inc 9 Unlock company profile
Omniscient Neurotechnology Pty Ltd 8 Unlock company profile
Cedars-Sinai Health System 8 Unlock company profile
General Hospital Corp 8 Unlock company profile
Dragerwerk AG & Co KGaA 8 Unlock company profile
Tel Hashomer Medical Research Infrastructure and Services Ltd 8 Unlock company profile
The United States Of America 8 Unlock company profile
SimBioSys Inc 7 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings Corp 7 Unlock company profile
Genetic Innovations Inc 7 Unlock company profile
Children's Medical Center 7 Unlock company profile
Bracco Injeneering SA 7 Unlock company profile
Darmiyan LLC 7 Unlock company profile
Oki Electric Industry Co Ltd 6 Unlock company profile
Teijin Ltd 6 Unlock company profile
Antaros Medical AB 6 Unlock company profile
BioProtonics Inc 6 Unlock company profile
NovoCure Ltd 5 Unlock company profile
Beijing SenseTime Technology Development Co., Ltd. 5 Unlock company profile
Esaote SpA 5 Unlock company profile
Exxellence 5 Unlock company profile
PT Soho Global Health Tbk 5 Unlock company profile
Acuitas Medical Limited 5 Unlock company profile
Shenzhen United Imaging Healthcare Co., Ltd. 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Hyperfine is the leading patent filer in the AI-assisted MRI market. Some other leading patent filers include Heartflow, Koninklijke Philips, and Canon

In terms of application diversity, Brain Lab leads the pack, followed by Teijin. With regards to geographic reach, Bracco Injeneering leads, followed by Hyperfine Research and Shenzhen United Imaging Healthcare

AI can be used for MRI reconstruction, which can offer several advantages, including faster imaging procedures for patients, fewer patient motion artefacts in the images, reduced wait times for patients in hospitals, and accurate diagnoses from radiologists for their patients. 

To further understand how Internet of Things is disrupting the healthcare industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things (IoT) 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.