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 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 Internet of Things in Medical Devices: Medical Emergency Response Systems.

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, ingestible sensors, wireless gastric stimulation devices, and remote nerve stimulation devices are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Dosage monitoring inhalators, programmable infusion pumps, and athletic monitoring sensors are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are blood glucose sensors and medical emergency response systems, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the medical devices industry

Medical emergency response systems is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Personal emergency response systems (PERS), also known as medical emergency response systems, allow a user to summon medical assistance in an emergency at the press of a button. PERS has three parts, a tiny radio transmitter, a console that connects to the phone, and an emergency response centre that monitors calls. Transmitters are small, battery-powered devices that can be worn around the neck, on a wristband, on a belt, or can be placed in a pocket. In case of assistance, clicking a button on the transmitter sends a signal to the console. The console contacts one or more emergency phone numbers automatically.

Most PERS are set to call an emergency response centre. The centre attempts to determine the nature of the emergency and may also go through the medical history of the individual to determine who should be alerted.

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 60+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of medical emergency response systems.

Key players in medical emergency response systems – 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 medical emergency response systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Baxter International 409 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 201 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 74 Unlock company profile
ARC Devices 64 Unlock company profile
DexCom 63 Unlock company profile
Oracle 52 Unlock company profile
Mortara Instrument 47 Unlock company profile
Stryker 44 Unlock company profile
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries 41 Unlock company profile
FitStar Labs 36 Unlock company profile
ResMed 35 Unlock company profile
General Electric 34 Unlock company profile
Konica Minolta 33 Unlock company profile
Dragerwerk 30 Unlock company profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 25 Unlock company profile
Beta Bionics 24 Unlock company profile
Masimo 23 Unlock company profile
Paramount Bed 20 Unlock company profile
Asahi Kasei 20 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 19 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 19 Unlock company profile
Smith & Nephew 18 Unlock company profile
DM Systems 16 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 15 Unlock company profile
ICU Medical 14 Unlock company profile
Fresenius 14 Unlock company profile
Nihon Kohden 13 Unlock company profile
Ford Motor 13 Unlock company profile
Honeywell International 13 Unlock company profile
Boston Scientific 12 Unlock company profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 10 Unlock company profile
C Rafin & 10 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 10 Unlock company profile
Qualcomm 10 Unlock company profile
RistCall 10 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 9 Unlock company profile
LiveCare 9 Unlock company profile
LG 9 Unlock company profile
Umano Medical 8 Unlock company profile
Teijin 8 Unlock company profile
Owlet Baby Care 8 Unlock company profile
Episode Solutions 8 Unlock company profile
Texas Instruments 8 Unlock company profile
Doro 8 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 8 Unlock company profile
Smiths Group 8 Unlock company profile
CareView Communications 7 Unlock company profile
Murata Manufacturing 7 Unlock company profile
MinebeaMitsumi 7 Unlock company profile
Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics 7 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Baxter International and Koninklijke Philips are two of the leading patent filers in medical emergency response systems. Some other leading patent filers include Alphabet, ARC Devices, DexCom, Oracle, Mortara Instrument and Stryker.

In terms of application diversity, DM Systems leads the pack, followed by ARC Devices and FitStar Labs. With regards to geographic reach, Teva Pharmaceutical Industries holds the top position, followed by DM Systems and ResMed in the second and third positions, respectively.

PERS have been around a long time, whereas many telecare systems are still in it is infancy. Many users find PERS to be simple to use, which allows end users to live freely by offering assistance and safety when required, giving end users an active part in the care practice. This is expected to be a key driver in this market in the short term until telecare systems become more commonplace. When that happens, there still will be a place for PERS as a data sensor to collect for the telehealth system, acting in tandem to support patients.

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.