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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: Computer assisted surgeries. Buy the report here.

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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

 Computer-assisted surgeries is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Computer-assisted surgery, also known as image-guided surgery, involves a procedure where a 3-D model of an organ/organs is made with the help of scans and computer technology. These procedures will facilitate the surgeons to control and move surgical instruments with better acuity in all areas of the body to perform minimally invasive surgeries.

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 30+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of computer-assisted surgeries.

Key players in computer-assisted 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 computer-assisted surgeries

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Heartflow 398 Unlock Company Profile
Stryker 167 Unlock Company Profile
ConforMIS 82 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 69 Unlock Company Profile
Smith & Nephew 69 Unlock Company Profile
Zimmer Biomet Holdings 42 Unlock Company Profile
EBM 42 Unlock Company Profile
Corning 35 Unlock Company Profile
Medtronic 22 Unlock Company Profile
Microport Orthopedics Holdings 21 Unlock Company Profile
Vektor Medical 18 Unlock Company Profile
Materialise 18 Unlock Company Profile
Envista Holdings 16 Unlock Company Profile
Intuitive Surgical 15 Unlock Company Profile
Nevro 13 Unlock Company Profile
Establishment Labs Holdings 9 Unlock Company Profile
Optimized Ortho 9 Unlock Company Profile
Thermo Fisher Scientific 8 Unlock Company Profile
Ortoma 8 Unlock Company Profile
InSilicoTrials Technologies 7 Unlock Company Profile
Planmeca 7 Unlock Company Profile
Galgo Medical 7 Unlock Company Profile
BrainLAB 6 Unlock Company Profile
FEops 6 Unlock Company Profile
Koninklijke Philips 6 Unlock Company Profile
NuVasive 6 Unlock Company Profile
Midea Holding 6 Unlock Company Profile
Centerline Biomedical 5 Unlock Company Profile
Alcon 5 Unlock Company Profile
General Electric 5 Unlock Company Profile
Canon 5 Unlock Company Profile
Corin Orthopaedics Holdings 5 Unlock Company Profile
Optimo Medical 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Heartflow is one of the leading patent filers in the field of computer-assisted surgeries. Some other key patent filers in the field include Stryker and ConforMIS.

In terms of application diversity, Koninklijke Philips leads the pack, followed by Optimo Medical and FEops. By means of geographic reach, Optimized Ortho holds the top position, followed by Johnson & Johnson and Ortoma in the second and third spots, respectively.

Computer-assisted surgeries have become highly efficient with excellent outcomes over time. The need for minimally invasive procedures and advancements in technology are the driving factors for computer-assisted surgeries. However, factors such as high cost, skill set, and accessibility should be addressed to increase the reach of these procedures.

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.