Mentions of artificial intelligence within the filings of companies in the medical devices industry fell 31% between the third and fourth quarters of 2021.

In total, the frequency of sentences related to artificial intelligence during 2021 was 207% 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 companies in the medical devices industry 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. Artificial intelligence 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 artificial intelligence is featuring more in the summaries and strategies of companies in the medical devices industry, two measures were calculated. Firstly, we looked at the percentage of companies which have mentioned artificial intelligence at least once in filings during the past twelve months - this was 67% compared to 28% in 2016. Secondly, we calculated the percentage of total analysed sentences that referred to artificial intelligence.

Of the 10 biggest employers in the medical devices industry, Medtronic was the company which referred to artificial intelligence the most during 2021. GlobalData identified 45 artificial intelligence-related sentences in the Ireland-based company's filings - 0.5% of all sentences. IQVIA mentioned artificial intelligence the second most - the issue was referred to in 0.4% of sentences in the company's filings. Other top employers with high artificial intelligence mentions included J&J, Roche and BD.

Across all companies in the medical devices industry the filing published in the fourth quarter of 2021 which exhibited the greatest focus on artificial intelligence came from Veracyte . Of the document's 1,127 sentences, six (0.5%) referred to artificial intelligence.

This analysis provides an approximate indication of which companies are focusing on artificial intelligence and how important the issue is considered within the medical devices industry, but it also has limitations and should be interpreted carefully. For example, a company mentioning artificial intelligence 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 artificial intelligence have been successes or failures.

GlobalData also categorises artificial intelligence mentions by a series of subthemes. Of these subthemes, the most commonly referred to topic in the fourth quarter of 2021 was 'smart robots', which made up 46% of all artificial intelligence subtheme mentions by companies in the medical devices industry.