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: Thermal ablation instruments.
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
Thermal ablation instruments is a key innovation area in healthcare
A minimally invasive option for treating cancer is thermal ablation, which is the term used to describe the tearing of tissue by extreme hyperthermia or hypothermia. Thermocoagulation, or "cold coagulation," is another name for thermal ablation, which uses a battery-operated metallic probe that is heated electrically and applied to the affected area for 30 seconds or so. These devices are easy to use, portable, and lightweight.
Using this instrument, thermal ablation is usually carried out without anaesthesia and by a variety of healthcare professionals, including primary care providers.
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 40 companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of thermal ablation instruments.
Key players in thermal ablation instruments – 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 thermal ablation instruments
|Company||Total patents (2010 - 2021)||Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies|
|Stryker||31||Unlock company profile|
|Koninklijke Philips||23||Unlock company profile|
|Boston Scientific||22||Unlock company profile|
|AbbVie||22||Unlock company profile|
|Asahi Kasei||18||Unlock company profile|
|Becton Dickinson and Co||17||Unlock company profile|
|Themis Beteiligungs-Ag||15||Unlock company profile|
|General Electric||13||Unlock company profile|
|AUGUSTINE BIOMEDICAL AND DESIGN||13||Unlock company profile|
|Gentherm||13||Unlock company profile|
|Augustine Temperature Management (formerly Hot Dog International)||12||Unlock company profile|
|Air Products and Chemicals||11||Unlock company profile|
|Vivonics||10||Unlock company profile|
|Massachusetts General Hospital||10||Unlock company profile|
|Medtronic||10||Unlock company profile|
|Hybernia Medical||10||Unlock company profile|
|Beijing Electronics Holding||10||Unlock company profile|
|clim8||9||Unlock company profile|
|Embr Labs||9||Unlock company profile|
|Sekisui Chemical||9||Unlock company profile|
|Adagio Medical||9||Unlock company profile|
|Nocira||9||Unlock company profile|
|Baxter International||9||Unlock company profile|
|Olympus||9||Unlock company profile|
|Adlore||8||Unlock company profile|
|Scion NeuroStim||8||Unlock company profile|
|Fresenius & Co||7||Unlock company profile|
|Alphabet||7||Unlock company profile|
|Ebb Therapeutics||7||Unlock company profile|
|Autonomix Medical||7||Unlock company profile|
|Neuronano||6||Unlock company profile|
|Shanghai Darong-Med||6||Unlock company profile|
|NIKE||6||Unlock company profile|
|TheraNova||6||Unlock company profile|
|Innovation Lab||6||Unlock company profile|
|Sichuan Xukang Medical Electrical Equipment||6||Unlock company profile|
|ElmediX||5||Unlock company profile|
|MDMI Technologies||5||Unlock company profile|
|Dragerwerk||5||Unlock company profile|
|NeuroRescue||5||Unlock company profile|
Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics
Stryker is one of the leading patent filers in the field of thermal ablation instruments. Some other key patent filers in the field include Koninklijke Philips and Boston Scientific.
In terms of application diversity, Autonomix Medical leads the pack, followed by Koninklijke Philips and Sichuan Xykang Medical Electrical Equipment. By means of geographic reach, Massachusetts General Hospital holds the top position, followed by Themis Beteiligungs and Autonomix Medical in second and third spots, respectively.
The preferred method of treatment for cancerous tumours after diagnosis is still surgical removal. However, open surgery remains traumatic. Additionally, the healthcare system is under pressure to find cheaper but equally effective alternatives to surgery due to the surgery's high financial cost. Ablation is occasionally used by medical professionals to treat benign tumours. Although the ablation technique may differ depending on the particular type of tumours, the general approach for each procedure is largely the same. In order to thermally ablate a cancerous tumour, ultrasound, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging are all used simultaneously.
To further understand the key themes and technologies disrupting the healthcare industry, access GlobalData’s latest thematic research report on Healthcare.