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: RFID-enabled patient data tracker.

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

RFID-enabled patient data tracker is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

RFID tracking systems enable the real-time monitoring of patient information such as name, medical records, allergies, medicine stock levels, expired pharmaceuticals, and other medical records. The RFID reader uses internet of things (IoT) technology to track the patients through RFID tags such as cameras, GPS, and other smart sensors, which can track globally and automatically to expedite care. The technology is a powerful tool for asset management in healthcare facilities.

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 healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of RFID-enabled patient data tracker.

Key players in RFID-enabled patient data tracker – 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 RFID-enabled patient data tracker

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Microsoft 93 Unlock company profile
FedEx 85 Unlock company profile
MEPS Real-Time 52 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 31 Unlock company profile
Mate Fertility 28 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 12 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 12 Unlock company profile
AcelRx Pharmaceuticals 10 Unlock company profile
77Kc 10 Unlock company profile
Brain Trust Innovations I 9 Unlock company profile
Haemonetics 8 Unlock company profile
Sakura Global Holding 7 Unlock company profile
Walmart 7 Unlock company profile
Baxter International 6 Unlock company profile
ResMed 6 Unlock company profile
Beijing Electronics Holding 5 Unlock company profile
Novartis 5 Unlock company profile
F. Hoffmann-La Roche 5 Unlock company profile
A-T Solutions 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Microsoft is one of the leading patent filers in the field of RFID-enabled patient data tracker. Some other key patent filers in the field include FedEx, MEPS Real-Time, Johnson & Johnson, and Mate Fertility.

In terms of application diversity, Johnson & Johnson leads the pack, followed by ResMed and FedEx. By means of geographic reach, Sakura Global held the top position, with 77Kc and Novartis in the second and third spots, respectively.

IoT tracking systems equipped with RFID tags have a promising future in assisting medical services in hospitals, such as enhanced security, operational effectiveness, and cost savings by tagging stocks, assets, patient data, medical staff data, and personnel records. The technology’s ability to provide real-time traceability, identification, communication, and temperature can provide cost benefits to the healthcare sector.

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.