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: Medical Steriliser. Buy the report here.

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

Medical sterilisers are a key innovation area in healthcare

Sterilisation refers to complete elimination of harmful organisms and can be of different types based on the product to be sterilised. Radiation sterilisation, which involves use of gamma or electron radiations, has proved to be an effective method for sterilisation of medical equipment. Radiation sterilisation allows sterilisation of both reusable and disposable packaged medical equipment as radiations can penetrate deep into the packaging of the product, thus reducing the chances of contamination.

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 medical steriliser.

Key players in medical steriliser – 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 medical steriliser

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Ecolab 20 Unlock company profile
Olympus 18 Unlock company profile
Koninklijke Philips 14 Unlock company profile
Getinge 14 Unlock company profile
Kleancheck Systems 13 Unlock company profile
Steelco 13 Unlock company profile
Meiko Maschinenbau 10 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 9 Unlock company profile
Steris 9 Unlock company profile
Chengdu Laoken Technology 7 Unlock company profile
Horiba 7 Unlock company profile
W&H Sterilization 6 Unlock company profile
B. Braun Melsungen 5 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Ecolab is one of the leading patent filers in the field of medical sterilisers. Some other key patent filers in the field include Olympus and Getinge.

In terms of application diversity, Kleancheck Systems leads the pack, followed by Olympus and Steris. By means of geographic reach, Johnson & Johnson holds the top position, followed by B. Braun Melsungen and Koninklijke Philips in second and third spots, respectively.

Sterilisation using radiation has proved to be effective and safe in sterilising medical devices and tissues to be used for transplantation. However, incompatibility of radiations with certain materials can cause degradation of the packaging material and handling of radioactive material poses concerns for the usage of radiation sterilisation. Tailored strategies that allow for cost-effective sterilisation using radiation along with efficient disposal techniques that reduce the negative effect of radiation on the environment would enhance the usage of radiation sterilisation, allowing better patient care.

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

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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.