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. Buy the report here.

Smarter leaders trust GlobalData

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 - 2022) 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
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.

Premium Insights


The gold standard of business intelligence.

Blending expert knowledge with cutting-edge technology, GlobalData’s unrivalled proprietary data will enable you to decode what’s happening in your market. You can make better informed decisions and gain a future-proof advantage over your competitors.


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.