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 Robotics in Healthcare: Conversational AI for healthcare.

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, microfluidic devices, static computer-aided implant surgery (s-CAIS), and digital pathology guided robotic surgery are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Interactive exercise system, computer-aided dental prostheses, and automated genetic screening are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas is the automated drug dispensing systems, which is now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for robotics in the healthcare industry

Conversational AI for healthcare is a key innovation area in robotics

Conversational AI for healthcare helps to streamline and automate a range of operations by allowing individuals to engage with healthcare practitioners using voice or text-based chatbots and virtual assistants. Chatbots and virtual assistants employ artificial intelligence (AI) capabilities such as Natural Language Processing (NLP), voice technology, and machine learning to automate user interactions. In healthcare, artificial intelligence (AI) refers to technologies and systems that detect and comprehend human inputs, respond to these inputs and their context, and even learn to grow better at sensing, understanding, and operating over time. Conversational AI is bringing much-needed digital transformation to the medical business, which will benefit everyone engaged in the healthcare value chain, including patients, healthcare practitioners, administrators, and others.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of conversational AI for healthcare.

Key players in conversational AI for healthcare – 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 conversational AI for healthcare

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Microsoft 96 Unlock company profile
Stryker 71 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 20 Unlock company profile
Baidu 15 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 15 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 15 Unlock company profile
DNAnudge 11 Unlock company profile
Getinge 11 Unlock company profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 11 Unlock company profile
Panasonic 11 Unlock company profile
Magic Leap 11 Unlock company profile
ODP 10 Unlock company profile
Curie AI 10 Unlock company profile
Beijing Electronics Holding 8 Unlock company profile
ROM Technologies 6 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 6 Unlock company profile
Sysmex 6 Unlock company profile
Oracle 6 Unlock company profile
Ironwood Medical Information Technologies 6 Unlock company profile
Click Therapeutics 5 Unlock company profile
Ping An Healthcare And Technology 5 Unlock company profile
Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China 5 Unlock company profile
Konica Minolta 5 Unlock company profile
M2S 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Microsoft is one of the leading patent filers in the field of Conversational AI for healthcare. Some other key patent filers in the field include Stryker and International Business Machines.

In terms of application diversity, Hitachi leads the pack, followed by Stryker and Alphabet. By means of geographic reach, Stryker held the top position, followed by DNAnudge and Magic Leap in second and third spots, respectively.

Conversational AI for healthcare has substantially enhanced healthcare support by automating time-consuming procedures. Healthcare practitioners may now employ AI technology to recognise symptoms, differentiate the most vital patients from the less urgent ones, and plan visits effectively. During patient check-ins, this technology also enables healthcare professionals to collect the essential information. Despite these outstanding technical breakthroughs, there is enormous space for improvement in the healthcare business in terms of AI and other game-changing technology solutions.

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