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 Robotics in Medical Devices: Automated Haemodialysis System.

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, HUDs for surgical navigation, robotic biopsy endoscope, and camera-guided surgical robots are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Robotic exoskeleton, surgical robots, and robotic catheters are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are robotic lower limb rehabilitation and microfluidic lab-on-a-chip, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for robotics in the medical devices industry

Automated haemodialysis system is a key innovation area in robotics

Automatic haemodialysis systems are machines that filter wastes, salts and fluid from the blood thereby acting as a substitute for kidneys. These systems are replacing conventional haemodialysis methods and machines owing to the lesser operational burden, increased efficiency, enhanced reliability and accuracy.

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 10+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of automated haemodialysis system.

Key players in automated haemodialysis system – 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 automated haemodialysis system

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Fresenius 694 Unlock company profile
Baxter International 416 Unlock company profile
DEKA Research and Development 137 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 121 Unlock company profile
B. Braun Melsungen 72 Unlock company profile
Nikkiso 32 Unlock company profile
Sequana Medical 22 Unlock company profile
Terumo 19 Unlock company profile
Debiotech 14 Unlock company profile
LiberDi 7 Unlock company profile
LivaNova 7 Unlock company profile
Getinge 6 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Fresenius and Baxter International are two of the leading patent filers in the automated haemodialysis systems market. Some other leading patent filers include DEKA Research and Development, Medtronic and B. Braun Melsungen.

In terms of application diversity, LivaNova leads, followed by Medtronic and B. Braun Melsungen. With regards to geographic reach, Medtronic holds the top position, followed by LiberDi and Nikkiso in second and third spots, respectively.

With the proportion of patients on long-term haemodialysis treatment increasing at an alarming rate, the market for automated haemodialysis systems is expected to grow significantly. To address the growing demand and current challenges, extra efforts are being made to develop new approaches and dialysis modalities that are affordable, accessible and offer improved patient outcomes.

For additional reading about how robotics is disrupting the medical devices industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Robotics in Medical (2021).


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.