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: Radiotherapy techniques.

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

Radiotherapy techniques is a key innovation area in healthcare

Radiotherapy, also known as radiation therapy, is used for the treatment of cancer by using high dose of ionising radiation to inactivate the cancerous cells. Radiotherapy techniques are used to treat different types of cancer if they are present in a localised area of the body. Radiotherapy can be used as a standalone therapy or in combination with other treatments of cancer such as surgery or chemotherapy.

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 70+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of radiotherapy techniques.

Key players in radiotherapy techniques – 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 radiotherapy techniques

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Koninklijke Philips 213 Unlock company profile
Siemens 197 Unlock company profile
Elekta 124 Unlock company profile
Bracco 112 Unlock company profile
BrainLAB 81 Unlock company profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 66 Unlock company profile
Accuray 63 Unlock company profile
Bayer 49 Unlock company profile
Raysearch Laboratories 45 Unlock company profile
Legrand 40 Unlock company profile
Gearbox 33 Unlock company profile
Immunolight 32 Unlock company profile
Vital Vio 29 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 29 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 25 Unlock company profile
Siris Medical 25 Unlock company profile
LG 23 Unlock company profile
Johnson & Johnson 23 Unlock company profile
Biotronik 22 Unlock company profile
Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare 21 Unlock company profile
Toshiba 20 Unlock company profile
Demant 19 Unlock company profile
Enovis 17 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Electric 17 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 16 Unlock company profile
Apax Partners LLP 16 Unlock company profile
EMPI 15 Unlock company profile
PhotoSonix Medical 15 Unlock company profile
Teleflex Medical 15 Unlock company profile
JK-Holding 14 Unlock company profile
Creo Medical Group 14 Unlock company profile
Linden 14 Unlock company profile
Alphabet 13 Unlock company profile
Medrad 13 Unlock company profile
L'Oreal 12 Unlock company profile
Samsung Group 12 Unlock company profile
Color Seven 12 Unlock company profile
Applied Biophotonics 11 Unlock company profile
Benesol 11 Unlock company profile
Lutronic 11 Unlock company profile
WellsCare 10 Unlock company profile
Valencell 10 Unlock company profile
Sensor Electronic Technology 10 Unlock company profile
E. Merck KG 10 Unlock company profile
Soovu Labs 9 Unlock company profile
Sensai 9 Unlock company profile
SANUWAVE Health 9 Unlock company profile
Sunlighten 9 Unlock company profile
Mentice 9 Unlock company profile
German Cancer Research Center 8 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Koninklijke Philips is one of the leading patent filers in the field of Radiotherapy techniques. Some other key patent filers in the field include Siemens, Elekta, and Bracco.

In terms of application diversity, Legrand leads the pack, followed by Sunlighten and Creo Medical Group, respectively. By means of geographic reach, EMPI held the top position, followed by Applied Biophotonics and Creo Medical Group in second and third spots, respectively.

The increasing incidence of cancer has spurred the demand for radiation therapy to control the growth of cancer. Radiation therapy is a reliable and effective treatment whose primary objective is to inactivate the cancer cell capacity to divide and proliferate. Ongoing improvements in radiation therapy techniques and advancement in understanding the cancer cells biology will work to improve patient survival and reduce adverse effects of treatment.

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