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 outcome, as well as a growing importance in technologies such as machine learning, augmented reality, 5G and digitalization. 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 Innovation in Medical Devices: Intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) devices.

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, neurostimulation therapy, smart physiotherapy devices, and real-time IR thermographic imaging are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Precision radiotherapy, electric atomisers, and bio-active prosthesis coating are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are bioresorbable stent coating and cryogenic tissue treatment, which are now well established in the industry.

Innovation S-curve for the medical devices industry

Intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) devices is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry

Also known as sequential compression devices, intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) devices consist of inflatable sleeves wrapped that are around the leg cuffs to apply pressure against the limb by expansion and contraction. These devices are usually prescribed after related illness or surgery as they support circulation and help prevent blood clots and deep vein thrombosis, potentially replacing the blood-thinning oral drugs.

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 IPC devices.

Key players in intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) devices – 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 intermittent pneumatic compression (IPC) devices

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Medtronic 217 Unlock company profile
Cardinal Health 137 Unlock company profile
Avex 33 Unlock company profile
ConvaTec Group 31 Unlock company profile
Tactile Systems Technology 29 Unlock company profile
Baxter International 22 Unlock company profile
3M 18 Unlock company profile
ThermoTek 17 Unlock company profile
Lite Run 17 Unlock company profile
Recovery Force 14 Unlock company profile
medi 14 Unlock company profile
Radial Medical 12 Unlock company profile
Diabetic Boot Company 11 Unlock company profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 10 Unlock company profile
Arjo 9 Unlock company profile
Mego Afek AC 9 Unlock company profile
ResMed 8 Unlock company profile
Reactive Robotics 8 Unlock company profile
Koya 8 Unlock company profile
Caremed Supply 8 Unlock company profile
Otivio 7 Unlock company profile
Vyaire Medical 7 Unlock company profile
Essity 6 Unlock company profile
Bristol-Myers Squibb 6 Unlock company profile
Maldonado Medical 6 Unlock company profile
Koya Medical 5 Unlock company profile
IMPACT Therapeutics 5 Unlock company profile
Ventrk 5 Unlock company profile
Griffiths and Nielsen 5 Unlock company profile
MJS Healthcare 5 Unlock company profile
Zimmer Biomet Holdings 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Medtronic is one of the leading patent filers in the field of IPC devices. Some other key patent filers in the field include Cardinal Health and Avex.

In terms of application diversity, Diabetic Boot Company leads the pack, followed by Ventrk and Vyaire Medical. By means of geographic reach, medi holds the top position, followed by Medtronic and MJS Healthcare in second and third spots, respectively.

Besides increasing blood flow and preventing blood clots, IPC devices also find application in the after-stroke treatment and treating lymphedema. These devices are medically necessary upon discharge in cases vulnerable to deep vein thrombosis, especially for immobile patients. Undoubtedly, it is an inexpensive and convenient technology, that is likely to gain a lot of popularity in the coming years.

The use of pneumatic compression therapy amongst athletes has also been increasing due to the benefits they offer for sports injuries. The market is driven by a variety of factors including the rapidly ageing global population, coupled with the rising prevalence of venous diseases which stem from obesity as well as lifestyles that are progressively more sedentary.

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.