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 Innovation in Medical Devices: Programmed medical infusion 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, 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

Programmed medical infusion system is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry

A programmed medical infusion system is a device with built-in safety software that delivers IV fluids into a patient's body under external control. Infusion pumps are routinely used to provide nutrition and medications such as hormones, antibiotics, pain relievers, and chemotherapeutic treatments, in therapeutic settings such as hospitals, nursing homes, and even remotely. Infusion pumps are chosen over manual fluid administration because they can regulate the capacity to infuse fluids at regular intervals, in only the required quantity at programmed frequencies.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established medical devices companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of programmed medical infusion system.

Key players in programmed medical infusion 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 programmed medical infusion system

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Medtronic 153 Unlock company profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 108 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 102 Unlock company profile
DexCom 92 Unlock company profile
Aseko 78 Unlock company profile
Bigfoot Biomedical 60 Unlock company profile
Beta Bionics 37 Unlock company profile
Novo Nordisk Foundation 35 Unlock company profile
DEKA Research and Development 33 Unlock company profile
Hygieia 24 Unlock company profile
Diabetes Tools Sweden 24 Unlock company profile
Sanofi 18 Unlock company profile
Qualcomm 14 Unlock company profile
Masimo 13 Unlock company profile
Tandem Diabetes Care 12 Unlock company profile
Insulet 11 Unlock company profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 11 Unlock company profile
Singapore Health Services 11 Unlock company profile
Oracle 11 Unlock company profile
Autonomous Healthcare 10 Unlock company profile
Baxter International 10 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 9 Unlock company profile
DreaMed Diabetes 8 Unlock company profile
Chrono Therapeutics 6 Unlock company profile
Veris Health 5 Unlock company profile
Monarch Medical Technologies 5 Unlock company profile
Fitscript 5 Unlock company profile
Clalit Health Services 5 Unlock company profile
Erech Finance Cahalacha 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Medtronic is one of the leading patent filers in the field of programmed medical infusion system. Some other key patent filers in the field include F. Hoffmann-La Roche and Abbott Laboratories.

In terms of application diversity, Abbott Laboratories leads the pack, followed by Chrono Therapeutics and Masimo. By means of geographic reach, Sanofi holds the top position, followed by Becton Dickinson and Diabetes Tools Sweden in second and third spots, respectively.

Programmed infusion pumps have been customised to include safety features such as alarms that alert users in case of emergency and are crucial for injecting high-risk fluids. Some smart infusion pumps efficiently use dose error reduction systems (DERS) to reduce medication errors by comparing programmed dosages to pre-set drug limits and recording infusion or withdrawal history when connected to a computer, thereby imparting greater precision. AI and machine learning have the potential to improve patient safety in the near future, by creating and maintaining smart infusion drug libraries in these systems to mitigate errors.

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.