The healthcare industry continues to be a hotbed of innovation, with activity driven by telemedicine, real-time diagnostics, smart hospitals and access to digital therapies, and the growing importance of technologies such as artificial intelligence (AI), the internet of things (IoT), augmented reality (AR), robotics and data management practices. In the last three years alone, there have been over 106,000 patents filed and granted in the healthcare industry, according to GlobalData’s report on Artificial Intelligence in Healthcare: Transcranial ultrasound. Buy the report here.

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.

200+ innovations will shape the healthcare industry

According to GlobalData’s Technology Foresights, which plots the S-curve for the healthcare industry using innovation intensity models built on over 443,000 patents, there are 200+ innovation areas that will shape the future of the industry.

Within the emerging innovation stage, drug delivery device security, microscopic image analysis models, and cellular imaging techniques are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Smart balloon catheters, automated immunoassay analysers, and AI-assisted MRI are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are smart fitness training system and non-invasive physiological monitoring, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for artificial intelligence in the healthcare industry

Transcranial ultrasound is a key innovation area in artificial intelligence

Transcranial ultrasound is a rapid, non-invasive, inexpensive, and real-time method of measuring cerebrovascular haemodynamic characteristics. These ultrasounds are primarily used to measure flow velocity in the basal arteries of the brain in order to assess relative changes in flow, identify focal vascular stenosis, or find embolic signals within these arteries. By measuring blood flow responses to changes in blood pressure, changes in end-tidal CO2, or changes in cognitive and motor activity of the brain, this can also evaluate the physiologic health of a specific vascular territory.

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 90+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of transcranial ultrasound.

Key players in transcranial ultrasound – a disruptive innovation in the healthcare 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 transcranial ultrasound

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Johnson & Johnson 638 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 414 Unlock company profile
Heartflow 253 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 197 Unlock company profile
Stryker 180 Unlock company profile
Smith & Nephew 146 Unlock company profile
Synaptive Medical 129 Unlock company profile
Intuitive Surgical 123 Unlock company profile
Siemens 117 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 108 Unlock company profile
Olympus 59 Unlock company profile
Boston Scientific 58 Unlock company profile
Shifamed 42 Unlock company profile
Autonomix Medical 35 Unlock company profile
Venus Concept 32 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 28 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 27 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 24 Unlock company profile
Medlumics 22 Unlock company profile
Consensus Orthopedics 22 Unlock company profile
Canon 21 Unlock company profile
Dentsply Sirona 19 Unlock company profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 19 Unlock company profile
Accuray 19 Unlock company profile
Alcon 17 Unlock company profile
CIRCA Scientific 17 Unlock company profile
Autonomix 16 Unlock company profile
Zimmer Biomet Holdings 16 Unlock company profile
CMR Surgical 15 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 15 Unlock company profile
Thermo Fisher Scientific 14 Unlock company profile
Kardium 14 Unlock company profile
Monteris Medical 14 Unlock company profile
NovaRad 13 Unlock company profile
Genetesis 13 Unlock company profile
Dror Ortho-Design 12 Unlock company profile
General Electric 12 Unlock company profile
BrainLAB 12 Unlock company profile
HyperMed Imaging 12 Unlock company profile
Altoida 11 Unlock company profile
Acutus Medical 11 Unlock company profile
Theator 11 Unlock company profile
Waters 11 Unlock company profile
Cardiawave 11 Unlock company profile
Magic Leap 11 Unlock company profile
Carl Zeiss Stiftung 10 Unlock company profile
Surgisense 10 Unlock company profile
ARANZ Medical 10 Unlock company profile
XACT Robotics 10 Unlock company profile
Elbit Imaging 10 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Johnson & Johnson is one of the leading patent filers in the field of transcranial ultrasound. Some other key patent filers in the field include Koninklijke Philips and Heartflow.

In terms of application diversity, BrainLAB leads the pack, followed by International Business Machines and Alcon. By means of geographic reach, Autonomix Medical holds the top position, followed by Altoida and Magic Leap in second and third spots, respectively.

Transcranial doppler ultrasound systems are in high demand because they are frequently employed in imaging diagnosis of stenosis, vasospasm, and emboli produced by subarachnoid haemorrhage. AI-aided ultrasound screening offers additional benefits over conventional imaging modalities, such as portability and cost, without replacing CT screening or MRIs, which are useful for learning about the patient's brain's structure.

To further understand how artificial intelligence is disrupting the healthcare industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on AI in Healthcare - 2021.

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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.