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July 22, 2021

Is the healthcare sector seeing the beginnings of a robotics investment boom?

Robotics deals, jobs and patents have been booming in the last few years. But is the healthcare sector keeping up?

By Nicu Calcea

The healthcare industry is seeing an increase in robotics investment across several key metrics, according to an analysis of GlobalData figures.

Robotics is gaining an increasing presence across multiple industries, with top companies around the world completing more robotics deals, hiring for more robotics roles and mentioning it more frequently in company reports at the start of 2021.

GlobalData’s thematic approach to sector activity seeks to group key company information on hiring, deals, patents and more by topic to see which industries are best placed to weather the disruptions coming their way.

These themes, of which robotics is one, are best thought of as “any issue that keeps a CEO awake at night”, and by tracking them, it becomes possible to ascertain which companies are leading the way on specific issues and which are dragging their heels.

One area in which there has been a decrease in robotics investment among healthcare companies is in the number of deals. GlobalData figures show that there were nine robotics deals in healthcare in the second quarter of 2019. By the second quarter of 2021, that number was six.

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Hiring patterns within the healthcare sector as a whole are pointing towards an increase in the level of attention being shown to roles related to robotics. There were 2,446 actively advertised-for open healthcare roles within the industry in the second quarter of this year, up from 658 in the same quarter last year.

It is also apparent from an analysis of keyword mentions in financial filings that robotics is occupying the minds of healthcare companies to a lesser extent.

There have been five mentions of robotics across the filings of the biggest healthcare companies in Q2 2021. This figure represents a decrease compared to the same period in 2019, when industry filings mentioned robotics 21 times.

Robotics is decreasingly fueling innovation in the healthcare sector. There were, on average, 53 healthcare patents related to robotics granted in the second quarter of 2019. That figure has fallen to 16 patents in the last quarter of 2020.

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