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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 Innovation in Healthcare: NMR imaging systems. Buy the report here.

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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, specimen collection devices, ultrasound imaging system, and automated laboratory systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Biological sampling devices, endoscopic ultrasound tomography, and NMR imaging systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are doppler ultrasound imaging and CT-guided surgery, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for the healthcare industry

NMR imaging systems is a key innovation area in healthcare

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) is a technique using which nuclei exposed in an electromagnetic field and excited with photons produce electromagnetic signals. The photons are then re-emitted from the nuclei to produce the structure of the sample molecule. NMR is used for quality control, determining the purity and molecular structure of the sample.

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 NMR imaging systems.

Key players in NMR imaging systems – 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 NMR imaging systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Heartflow 247 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 224 Unlock Company Profile
Siemens 187 Unlock Company Profile
Samsung Group 84 Unlock Company Profile
Hitachi 39 Unlock Company Profile
Bayer 36 Unlock Company Profile
Arterys 33 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba 33 Unlock Company Profile
Hyperfine 28 Unlock Company Profile
Hyperfine Research 24 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 24 Unlock Company Profile
Elekta 23 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 20 Unlock Company Profile
Neurophet 14 Unlock Company Profile
Synaptive Medical 14 Unlock Company Profile
Toshiba Medical Systems 14 Unlock Company Profile
Heuron 13 Unlock Company Profile
LVIS 12 Unlock Company Profile
Massachusetts General Hospital 10 Unlock Company Profile
Alphabet 10 Unlock Company Profile
Omniscient Neurotechnology 8 Unlock Company Profile
Tel Hashomer Medical Research Infrastructure and Services 8 Unlock Company Profile
General Hospital 7 Unlock Company Profile
Bracco Injeneering 7 Unlock Company Profile
Darmiyan 7 Unlock Company Profile
United States Of America 7 Unlock Company Profile
Medtronic 6 Unlock Company Profile
Antaros Medical 6 Unlock Company Profile
Cedars-Sinai Health System 5 Unlock Company Profile
Esaote 5 Unlock Company Profile
Exxellence 5 Unlock Company Profile
Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique 5 Unlock Company Profile
Acuitas Medical 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Heartflow is one of the leading patent filers in the field of NMR imaging systems. Some other key patent filers in the field include Koninklijke Philips and Siemens.

In terms of application diversity, Heartflow leads the pack, followed by Alphabet and Neurophet. By means of geographic reach, Bracco Injeneering holds the top position, followed by Hyperfine Research and Bayer in second and third spots, respectively.

Nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) imaging systems have wide range of applications including drug discovery and development, cancer diagnosis and food quality control. Technological advancements would allow NMR instruments to be cheaper, more clinically compatible and easier to maintain. NMR technology-based metabolomics profile has the potential to allow efficient evaluation of patients using magnetic resonance imaging scanners.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the healthcare industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Healthcare.

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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.