The medical devices industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by increased need for homecare, preventative treatments, early diagnosis, reducing patient recovery times and improving outcomes, as well as a growing importance in technologies such as machine learning, augmented reality, 5G and digitalisation. In the last three years alone, there have been over 450,000 patents filed and granted in the medical devices industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial Intelligence in Medical Devices: 3D modelling for surgeries. 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.

150+ innovations will shape the medical devices industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the medical devices industry using innovation intensity models built on over 550,000 patents, there are 150+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, AI-assisted radiology, motion artefact analysis, and treatment evaluation models are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. MRI image smoothing, AI-assisted EHR/EMR, and AI-assisted CT imaging are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are computer-assisted surgeries and 3D endoscopy, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the medical devices industry

3D modelling for surgeries is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

3D modelling for surgery allows surgeons to better plan surgeries, compared to traditional 2D, or paper planning. This saves time, improves success of surgery, thereby improving patient outcomes. Reduced readmission rates and more streamlined surgical planning benefits hospital revenue.

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 110+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of 3D modelling for surgeries.

Key players in 3D modelling for surgeries – a disruptive innovation in the medical devices 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 3D modelling for surgeries

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Johnson & Johnson 434 Unlock company profile
Heartflow 311 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 247 Unlock company profile
Stryker 210 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 188 Unlock company profile
Siemens 181 Unlock company profile
Align Technology 95 Unlock company profile
Dentsply Sirona 93 Unlock company profile
Boston Scientific 83 Unlock company profile
Intuitive Surgical 74 Unlock company profile
Smith & Nephew 69 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 61 Unlock company profile
General Electric 53 Unlock company profile
Magic Leap 47 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 44 Unlock company profile
EBM 42 Unlock company profile
Canon 41 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 38 Unlock company profile
BrainLAB 34 Unlock company profile
Synaptive Medical 34 Unlock company profile
Materialise 30 Unlock company profile
Dental Monitoring 27 Unlock company profile
Olympus 27 Unlock company profile
JointVue 24 Unlock company profile
Episurf Medical 24 Unlock company profile
Dental Smartmirror 24 Unlock company profile
Zimmer Biomet Holdings 23 Unlock company profile
Planmeca 23 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 21 Unlock company profile
Midmark 19 Unlock company profile
TROPHY 19 Unlock company profile
Envista Holdings 19 Unlock company profile
Venus Concept 19 Unlock company profile
Vektor Medical 18 Unlock company profile
Emanate Biomedical 17 Unlock company profile
Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare 15 Unlock company profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 15 Unlock company profile
Titan Medical 15 Unlock company profile
Nuctech Company 15 Unlock company profile
Globus Medical 14 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 14 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Electric 14 Unlock company profile
Neuboron Medtech 13 Unlock company profile
MegaGen Implant 12 Unlock company profile
FEops 12 Unlock company profile
Think Surgical 12 Unlock company profile
Carestream Dental Technology Topco 12 Unlock company profile
3D Systems 12 Unlock company profile
CathWorks 11 Unlock company profile
EDDA Technology 11 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Johnson and Johnson, Stryker and Medtronic are leading patent filers in the field of 3D modelling for surgery.

In terms of application diversity, Envista Holdings leads the pack, with Emanate Biomedical and Magic Leap in second and third place respectively. By means of geographic reach, EBM held the top position, followed by Stryker and Align Technology.

3D models were first described in 1979, but it is only through recent technological advance, such as through the use of AI, has this seen practical clinical benefit. 3D modelling will not only benefit patients directly, through improved surgical planning, but also provides a means to improve the skills of surgeons. The technology raises the prospect of intraoperative guidance through augmented reality. Further the surgical training apprenticeship model is increasingly incompatible with modern clinical  practice, a fact shown during the COVID-19 pandemic which saw senior surgeons having to stay in practice beyond normal retirement in order to pass on skills to junior surgeons.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Medical Devices.

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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.