Research and innovation in digitalization in the medical sector has declined in the last year.

The most recent figures show that the number of digitalization related patent applications in the industry stood at 85 in the three months ending February – down from 101 over the same period in 2021.

Figures for patent grants related to digitalization followed a different pattern to filings – growing from 22 in the three months ending February 2021 to 32 in the same period in 2022.

The figures are compiled by GlobalData, who track patent filings and grants from official offices around the world. Using textual analysis, as well as official patent classifications, these patents are grouped into key thematic areas, and linked to key companies across various industries.

Digitalization is one of the key areas tracked by GlobalData. It has been identified as being a key disruptive force facing companies in the coming years, and is one of the areas that companies investing resources in now are expected to reap rewards from.

The figures also provide an insight into the largest innovators in the sector.

Johnson & Johnson was the top digitalization innovator in the medical sector in the latest quarter. The company, which has its headquarters in the United States, filed 57 digitalization related patents in the three months ending February. That was up from 30 over the same period in 2021.

It was followed by the Switzerland based F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd with 18 digitalization patent applications, the United States based Illumina Inc (14 applications), and the United States based Becton Dickinson and Co (10 applications).

F. Hoffmann-La Roche Ltd has recently ramped up R&D in digitalization. It saw growth of 50% in related patent applications in the three months ending February compared to the same period in 2021 - the highest percentage growth out of all companies tracked with more than 10 quarterly patents in the medical sector.