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: AI-assisted EHR/EMR.

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

AI-assisted EHR/EMR is a key innovation area in Artificial Intelligence

AI in EHRs (Electronic Health Records) improves data discovery, extraction of complex findings, and facilitates the use of Big Data to be used to generate personalised treatment recommendations, improving patient outcomes.

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 70 companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of AI-assisted EHR/EMR.

Key players in AI-assisted EHR/EMR – 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 AI-assisted EHR/EMR

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Heartflow 236 Unlock company profile
Smith & Nephew 120 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 117 Unlock company profile
Microsoft 105 Unlock company profile
Enlitic 93 Unlock company profile
Ping An Insurance (Group) Company of China 70 Unlock company profile
Siemens 70 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 50 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 36 Unlock company profile
Canon 28 Unlock company profile
Tesseract Health 25 Unlock company profile
Oracle 24 Unlock company profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 22 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 22 Unlock company profile
General Electric 19 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 19 Unlock company profile
Drishti Technologies 18 Unlock company profile
Baidu 15 Unlock company profile
Tencent Holdings 13 Unlock company profile
Vektor Medical 13 Unlock company profile
Danaher 13 Unlock company profile
LVIS 12 Unlock company profile
Babylon Partners 12 Unlock company profile
Sorcero 11 Unlock company profile
Petuum 11 Unlock company profile
Tempus Labs 10 Unlock company profile
January 10 Unlock company profile
Deep Bio 10 Unlock company profile
4D Pharma 10 Unlock company profile
Autonomous Healthcare 10 Unlock company profile
HTC 10 Unlock company profile
AT&T 10 Unlock company profile
Curie AI 10 Unlock company profile
Teladoc Health 10 Unlock company profile
Olympus 10 Unlock company profile
Imagia Cybernetics 9 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 9 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 9 Unlock company profile
Illumina 9 Unlock company profile
Elekta 9 Unlock company profile
Knowtions Research 8 Unlock company profile
Beijing Electronics Holding 8 Unlock company profile
Nippon Telegraph and Telephone 8 Unlock company profile
FRONTEO 8 Unlock company profile
Straumann Holding 8 Unlock company profile
ROM Technologies 7 Unlock company profile
Investor 7 Unlock company profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 7 Unlock company profile
Toyota Motor 7 Unlock company profile
Shanghai United Imaging Intelligence 6 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Heartflow is the leading patent filer in AI-assisted EMR/HER analysis. Other key patent filers include Smith & Nephew, Microsoft, Enlitic, Siemens and Tesseract Health.

By means of geographic reach, 4D Pharma held the top spot, followed by Smith & Nephew, Investor and Tesseract Health. In terms of application diversity, Heartflow leads the pack, followed by Autonomous Healthcare and Smith & Nephew.

Advancements in medical imaging and clinical diagnostics have resulted in the generation of large patient data sets, which are increasingly seen as inflexible, difficult to use and expensive to configure. AI-powered EHR systems will enable efficient use of multiple datasets across various parts of the healthcare universe, to be used to improve patient outcomes and management of the healthcare system. With AI integrated into these systems, more deep learning solutions enabling personalised healthcare are emerging. Integrated EHR/EMR, enabled by AI, improves and enhances communication between physicians and patients, leading to improved care.

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


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.