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: Surgical image manipulation applications. Buy the report here.

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

Surgical image manipulation applications is a key innovation area in robotics

Surgical image manipulation applications enable image processing and manipulation of necessary clinical and diagnostic images to provide seamless interactivity. It not only helps enhance oncological outcomes, but also highlights complex anatomical details to facilitate effective pre-operative planning. With its wide array of applications in surgical, therapeutic, and diagnostic processes, it is gradually emerging as a revolutionised approach over traditional image guidance systems.

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of surgical image manipulation applications.

Key players in surgical image manipulation applications – 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 surgical image manipulation applications

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Stryker 79 Unlock company profile
Boston Scientific 39 Unlock company profile
Align Technology 27 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 24 Unlock company profile
Carl Zeiss Stiftung 20 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 18 Unlock company profile
Alcon 14 Unlock company profile
NovaRad 11 Unlock company profile
CMR Surgical 10 Unlock company profile
Intuitive Surgical 8 Unlock company profile
Surgical Theater 6 Unlock company profile
Universidade de Coimbra 6 Unlock company profile
Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center 5 Unlock company profile
Siemens 5 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 5 Unlock company profile
Centre De Recherche Medico Dentaire AM 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Stryker is the leading patent filer in the surgical image manipulation applications market. Some other leading patent filers include Boston Scientific and Align Technology.

In terms of application diversity, CMR Surgical leads, followed by Stryker and Intuitive Surgical. With regards to geographic reach, Stryker leads, followed by Carl Zeiss Stiftung and Align Technology.

Surgical image manipulation applications have gained much popularity over the past years as a valuable tool in modern surgery field. Efforts are being made to make these applications readily available and accessible at reasonable costs. Technological advances may further play a critical role in improving the image quality and manipulation features, thereby giving ample opportunities for related companies to grow and explore.

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

Premium Insights


The gold standard of business intelligence.

Blending expert knowledge with cutting-edge technology, GlobalData’s unrivalled proprietary data will enable you to decode what’s happening in your market. You can make better informed decisions and gain a future-proof advantage over your competitors.


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.