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 Innovation in Healthcare: Doppler ultrasound imaging.

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, specimen collection devices, ultrasound imaging system, and automated laboratory systems are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Biological sampling devices, endoscopic ultrasound tomography, and NMR imaging systems are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are doppler ultrasound imaging and CT-guided surgery, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for the healthcare industry

Doppler ultrasound imaging is a key innovation area in healthcare

Doppler ultrasonography is a non-invasive method for determining blood flow via arteries by reflecting high-frequency sound waves (ultrasound) released by circulating red blood cells. A typical ultrasound, which uses sound waves to create pictures, cannot detect blood flow.

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 healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of doppler ultrasound imaging.

Key players in doppler ultrasound imaging – 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 doppler ultrasound imaging

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Koninklijke Philips 291 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 201 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 120 Unlock company profile
Olympus 109 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 74 Unlock company profile
Siemens 60 Unlock company profile
Konica Minolta 45 Unlock company profile
General Electric 45 Unlock company profile
Toshiba 42 Unlock company profile
Canon 40 Unlock company profile
Mayo Clinic 33 Unlock company profile
Toshiba Medical Systems 21 Unlock company profile
Qualcomm 15 Unlock company profile
Altaris Capital Partners 15 Unlock company profile
Shenzhen Mindray Bio-Medical Electronics 15 Unlock company profile
Decision Sciences Medical 13 Unlock company profile
Abbott Laboratories 10 Unlock company profile
Wuxi Hisky Medical Technologies 10 Unlock company profile
Clarius Mobile Health 10 Unlock company profile
AmCad BioMed 9 Unlock company profile
UNEX 9 Unlock company profile
Liminal Sciences 8 Unlock company profile
Edan Instruments 8 Unlock company profile
Teratech 8 Unlock company profile
Hologic 7 Unlock company profile
Caption Health 7 Unlock company profile
Endra 7 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 7 Unlock company profile
QView Medical 7 Unlock company profile
Lily Medtech 6 Unlock company profile
Echometrix 6 Unlock company profile
ILJIN Holdings 6 Unlock company profile
Healcerion 6 Unlock company profile
Cordance Medical 5 Unlock company profile
Advantest 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Koninklijke Philips is one of the leading patent filers in the field of doppler ultrasound imaging. Some other key patent filers in the field include Samsung Group and Hitachi.

In terms of application diversity, Lily Medtech leads the pack, followed by Edan Instruments and Echometrix, respectively. By means of geographic reach, QView Medical held the top position, with Wuxi Hisky Medical Technologies, Decision Sciences Medical and Caption Health in the following spots.

Ultrasound imaging is readily available, easy to use, radiation-free and less expensive than other imaging modalities. It shows soft tissues that x-rays miss. It is a fast-advancing technology due to its safety and non-invasive nature. Parallel breakthroughs in electronics, computation, transducer technology, and signal processing are behind these rapid advancements.

To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the healthcare industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Healthcare.


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.