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 Internet of Things in Healthcare: Automated drug dispensing systems.

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, smart helmets, body temperature sensors, and software as a medical device (SaMD) are disruptive technologies that are in the early stages of application and should be tracked closely. Smart balloon catheters, point-of-care molecular diagnostics, and automated immunoassay analysers are some of the accelerating innovation areas, where adoption has been steadily increasing. Among maturing innovation areas are smart contact lenses and global positioning system (GPS) integrated fitness monitors, which are now well established in the industry. 

Innovation S-curve for Internet of Things in the healthcare industry

Automated drug dispensing systems is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Automated drug dispensing systems offer electronic medication tracking, storage, and dispensing. They have been proposed as a realistic strategy for enhancing productivity and patient safety. The automated drug dispensing systems address daily obstacles and minimise margin-eroding processes. These machines are currently widely employed in numerous hospitals.

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 50+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of automated drug dispensing systems.

Key players in automated drug dispensing systems – 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 automated drug dispensing systems

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Becton Dickinson and Co 242 Unlock company profile
Yuyama 146 Unlock company profile
Omnicell 133 Unlock company profile
RxSafe 61 Unlock company profile
Van Humbeck Family 44 Unlock company profile
Hero Health 37 Unlock company profile
Takazono 34 Unlock company profile
Hanmi Science 31 Unlock company profile
Coca-Cola Enterprises Great Britain 30 Unlock company profile
CVS Health 27 Unlock company profile
Evondos 25 Unlock company profile
Cardinal Health 20 Unlock company profile
PCAS Patient Care Automation Services 18 Unlock company profile
McKesson 17 Unlock company profile
PHC Holdings 16 Unlock company profile
PerceptiMed 16 Unlock company profile
AmerisourceBergen 15 Unlock company profile
Asteres 15 Unlock company profile
Touchpoint Medical 14 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 12 Unlock company profile
DAYA Medicals 11 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 10 Unlock company profile
Fujifilm Holdings 10 Unlock company profile
Envision Air Service 10 Unlock company profile
TKH Group 9 Unlock company profile
Pillo 9 Unlock company profile
Access Business Group International 9 Unlock company profile
Express Scripts Insurance Company 8 Unlock company profile
Health Enhancement Research Organization 8 Unlock company profile
AptarGroup 8 Unlock company profile
Wiegand 8 Unlock company profile
Bayer 8 Unlock company profile
MEPS Real-Time 8 Unlock company profile
InterMetro Industries 8 Unlock company profile
Biolog-id 7 Unlock company profile
Immunovative Therapies 7 Unlock company profile
B. Braun Melsungen 7 Unlock company profile
Capsa Healthcare 7 Unlock company profile
Avery Dennison 6 Unlock company profile
Cerx Pharmacy Partners 6 Unlock company profile
Sanofi 6 Unlock company profile
Omron 6 Unlock company profile
Merck & Co 6 Unlock company profile
MedicaSafe 6 Unlock company profile
Telepharmacy Solutions 6 Unlock company profile
Tranquility Group 6 Unlock company profile
Synergie Medicale Brg 6 Unlock company profile
Dose Health 5 Unlock company profile
Remedi Technology Holdings 5 Unlock company profile
Distributrices Medicales BHL 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Becton Dickinson and Yuyama are the leading patent filers in the automated drug dispensing systems using internet of things. Some other leading patent filers include Omnicell and RxSafe.

In terms of application diversity, Fujifilm is the leading company, followed by Dose Health, and Health Enhancement Research Organization. With regards to geographic reach, Access Business Group International, Wiegand, and Koninklijke Philips are the top companies.

The use of an Internet of Things-based automated dispensing system can help to reduce overall medication errors associated with drug selection, preparation, and administration in the intensive care unit. In the present scenario, most of the nurses have supported the organisations that make use of the automated drug dispensing systems.

To further understand how Internet of Things is disrupting the healthcare industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Internet of Things (IoT) in 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.