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: Sensor integrated absorbent pads.

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

Sensor integrated absorbent pads is a key innovation area in Internet of Things

Sensor integrated absorbent pads absorb various biohazardous liquids and body fluids such as blood, urine, or vomit in healthcare and medical facilities based on temperature or pressure fluctuations observed by sensors. The utilisation of sensor technology facilitates the detection of leakage, the saturation of absorbent material, and the collection of data in real-time.

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 20+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of sensor integrated absorbent pads.

Key players in sensor integrated absorbent pads – 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 sensor integrated absorbent pads

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Waters 157 Unlock company profile
Baxter International 94 Unlock company profile
Parasol Medical 34 Unlock company profile
Ontex Group 30 Unlock company profile
Essity 29 Unlock company profile
Fred Bergman Healthcare 22 Unlock company profile
DM Systems 16 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 14 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 13 Unlock company profile
SCA Hygiene Products 13 Unlock company profile
Smith & Nephew 12 Unlock company profile
3M 12 Unlock company profile
Zansors 11 Unlock company profile
Qurasense 10 Unlock company profile
Grupo P.I. Mabe 10 Unlock company profile
Kao 8 Unlock company profile
Investor 8 Unlock company profile
NXP Semiconductors 8 Unlock company profile
Epicore Biosystems 8 Unlock company profile
Pixie Scientific 7 Unlock company profile
Stryker 6 Unlock company profile
Cardinal Health 5 Unlock company profile
Mortara Instrument 5 Unlock company profile
Furukawa 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Johnson & Johnson is one of the leading patent filers in the field of sensor integrating absorbent pads. Some other key patent filers in the field include Heartflow, Medtronic, Koninklijke Philips, and Stryker.

In terms of application diversity, Magic Leap leads the pack, followed by Waters and Creo Medical Group, respectively. By means of geographic reach, Creo Medical Group held the top position, with Massachusetts General Hospital and Becton Dickinson in the second and third spots.

The scope of sensor integrated absorbent pads has been increased widely over past few years. The technology not only measures the structure of absorbent material, but also consists of a wireless processing, communication and memory module. The automatic monitoring can save time for respondents and staff in the healthcare facilities by reducing the unnecessary checks of absorbent pads. The alert system technology is also beneficial for possible reduction in skin damage by increasing responsiveness to incontinence event.

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.