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: Cardiac defibrillators.

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

Cardiac defibrillators is a key innovation area in the medical devices industry

Cardiac defibrillators are devices that pulse an electric current into the heart to allow it to beat normally. They are used to prevent or treat a condition that results in irregular heartbeat called arrhythmia. Defibrillators can also revive an abruptly stopped heart. Automated external defibrillators, implantable cardioverter defibrillators, and wearable cardioverter defibrillators are the different types of cardiac defibrillators available for use.

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 cardiac defibrillators.

Key players in cardiac defibrillators – 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 cardiac defibrillators

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Asahi Kasei 607 Unlock company profile
Stryker 151 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 134 Unlock company profile
Senzime 20 Unlock company profile
Dr. Oestreich + Partner 18 Unlock company profile
Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics 10 Unlock company profile
Weinmann Emergency Medical Technology 9 Unlock company profile
Dragerwerk 8 Unlock company profile
Atreo Medical 8 Unlock company profile
PCS-MOSAIC HOLDINGS 8 Unlock company profile
Nihon Kohden 6 Unlock company profile
Schiller 6 Unlock company profile
Mediana 6 Unlock company profile
GEMAR 5 Unlock company profile
HeartHero 5 Unlock company profile
ODP 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Asahi Kasei is the leading patent filer in the cardiac defibrillators market. Some other leading patent filers include Koninklijke Philips and Stryker.

In terms of application diversity, Dragerwerk leads, followed by Mediana and ODP. With regards to geographic reach, Senzime leads, followed by Dr. Oestreich + Partner and Atreo Medical.

Devices for controlling heart rhythm appear to have a promising future, however, integrating and implementing new technology is still difficult. A tailored strategy with focused cardiac implantable electronic devices implantation and unique risk stratifications is needed. Additional research is required to identify cutting-edge tactics and tools that will improve patient diagnosis and care. Relevant advancements and breakthroughs in device design, implantation techniques, and postoperative monitoring may enhance patient clinical results.

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.