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 of 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 Internet of things in Medical Devices: Programmable infusion pumps. 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, 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

Programmable infusion pumps is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

A programmed infusion pump, also known as a smart pump, is a device that comprises a drug library and is also known as a dosage error-reduction system. Smart pumps assist the administration of intravenous fluids and drugs while adhering to predefined parameters such as drug concentration and dosage.

Infusion pumps are typically operated by a skilled user who programmes the rate and duration of fluid delivery using a built-in software interface. Pump failures can have serious consequences for patient safety since infusion pumps are regularly used to give vital fluids, including high-risk drugs. Many infusion pumps have safety measures such as alarms or other operator alerts that are designed to trigger in the case of a malfunction.

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 programmable infusion pumps.

Key players in programmable infusion pumps– 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 programmable infusion pumps

Company Total patents (2010 - 2022) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
DEKA Research and Development 437 Unlock Company Profile
Sanofi 179 Unlock Company Profile
Medtronic 142 Unlock Company Profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 87 Unlock Company Profile
Platinum Equity 55 Unlock Company Profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 51 Unlock Company Profile
Johnson & Johnson 25 Unlock Company Profile
Bristol-Myers Squibb 18 Unlock Company Profile
Enable Injections 17 Unlock Company Profile
Milux Holding 13 Unlock Company Profile
Baxter International 12 Unlock Company Profile
AMW 11 Unlock Company Profile
West Pharmaceutical Services 11 Unlock Company Profile
Insulet 10 Unlock Company Profile
Bayer 10 Unlock Company Profile
Presage Biosciences 10 Unlock Company Profile
Amgen 9 Unlock Company Profile
B. Braun Miethke 8 Unlock Company Profile
Unl Holdings 8 Unlock Company Profile
Vygon 8 Unlock Company Profile
Novo Nordisk Foundation 8 Unlock Company Profile
Lifescan Ip Holdings 8 Unlock Company Profile
Akroswiss 7 Unlock Company Profile
Medipacs 7 Unlock Company Profile
BioQ Pharma 7 Unlock Company Profile
Gerresheimer 6 Unlock Company Profile
Shl Medical 6 Unlock Company Profile
Mallinckrodt 6 Unlock Company Profile
Quanta Computer 5 Unlock Company Profile
Insulog 5 Unlock Company Profile
Seiko Epson 5 Unlock Company Profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

DEKA Research and Development is the leading patent filer in programmable infusion pumps market. Some other leading patent filers include Sanofi, Medtronic and F. Hoffmann-La Roche.

In terms of application diversity, Bristol-Myers Squibb leads the pack, followed by Baxter International and West Pharmaceutical Services. With regards to geographic reach, Platinum Equity leads, followed by B. Braun Miethke and Bristol-Myers Squibb.

Significant safety concerns about infusion pumps have been brought to the FDA's notice in recent years. These problems can risk the safe use of external infusion pumps, resulting in over- or under-infusion, missed treatments, or delayed medication. As with any technology, new smart-pump capabilities have potential obstacles to overcome. Integration with laboratory data would need to leverage novel software. Monitoring and titration procedures would be automated, reducing nurses' opportunity to develop these abilities. Finally, new safety systems have the potential to develop new faults. As a result, growing smart-pump applications will demand cautious development and testing.

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.