Mentions of robotics within the filings of companies in the healthcare sector fell 36% between the first and second quarters of 2021.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to robotics between July 2020 and June 2021 was 122% higher than in 2016 when GlobalData, from whom our data for this article is taken, first began to track the key issues referred to in company filings.

When healthcare companies publish annual and quarterly reports, ESG reports and other filings, GlobalData analyses the text and identifies individual sentences that relate to disruptive forces facing companies in the coming years. Robotics is one of these topics - companies that excel and invest in these areas are thought to be better prepared for the future business landscape and better equipped to survive unforeseen challenges.

To assess whether robotics is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of healthcare companies, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned robotics at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 21% compared to 9% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to robotics.

Of the 20 biggest employers in the healthcare sector, Bangkok Dusit Medical Services PCL was the company which referred to robotics the most between July 2020 and June 2021. GlobalData identified eight robotics-related sentences in the Thailand-based company's filings - 0.17% of all sentences. Mediclinic International Plc mentioned robotics the second most - the issue was referred to in 0.1% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high robotics mentions included Netcare Ltd, Quest Diagnostics Inc and Orpea SA.

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By GlobalData

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on robotics and how important the issue is considered within the healthcare sector, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning robotics more regularly is not necessarily proof that they are utilising new techniques or prioritising the issue, nor does it indicate whether the company's ventures into robotics have been successes or failures.

In the last quarter, healthcare companies based in Asia were most likely to mention robotics with 0.03% of sentences in company filings referring to the issue. In contrast, companies with their headquarters in Western Europe mentioned robotics in just 0.01% of sentences.