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: Patient data blockchain.

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

Patient data blockchain is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Secure patient data interchange among doctors, hospitals, labs, and pharmacies is made possible by blockchain technology in healthcare. Blockchain technology has replaced the conventional methods that many organisations use to maintain comparable patient data. This allows for improved diagnosis and individualised treatment plans depending on the patient's medical history.

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 patient data blockchain.

Key players in patient data blockchain – 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 patient data blockchain

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Bluefin Payment Systems 53 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 52 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 33 Unlock company profile
DexCom 29 Unlock company profile
SoftBank Group 25 Unlock company profile
Accenture 14 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 13 Unlock company profile
General Electric 13 Unlock company profile
Laboratory Corp of America Holdings 13 Unlock company profile
Siemens 13 Unlock company profile
OptumHealth Care Solutions 12 Unlock company profile
Visa 12 Unlock company profile
SAP 12 Unlock company profile
CompuGroup Medical 10 Unlock company profile
MDClone 9 Unlock company profile
Akamai Technologies 9 Unlock company profile
Walmart 9 Unlock company profile
Datavant 8 Unlock company profile
LunaPBC 8 Unlock company profile
Addi Medical 8 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 8 Unlock company profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 8 Unlock company profile
CMR Surgical 7 Unlock company profile
HerdX 7 Unlock company profile
ResMed 6 Unlock company profile
Netspective Communications 6 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Electric 6 Unlock company profile
Capital Payments 6 Unlock company profile
Ecole Polytechnique Federale de Lausanne 6 Unlock company profile
WS Audiology 5 Unlock company profile
Robert Bosch Stiftung 5 Unlock company profile
Stryker 5 Unlock company profile
Hewlett Packard Enterprise 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Bluefins Payment Systems is one of the leading patent filers in the field of patient data blockchain. Some other key patent filers in the field include Koninklijke Philips and International Business Machines.

In terms of application diversity, MDClone leads the pack, followed by ResMed and DexCom. By means of geographic reach, Hewlett Packard Enterprise holds the top position, followed by CMR Surgical and Laboratory of America in second and third spots, respectively.

Better drug traceability, better treatment planning, better supply chain management, and better patient outcomes have all been demonstrated via blockchain-based information exchange in the healthcare sector. Although decentralised and secure, blockchain-based data storage is expensive to construct and requires specialised skills for data processing, which may limit its application.

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.