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: Vaping device aerosol generators.

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

Vaping device aerosol generators is a key innovation area in healthcare

Vaping device aerosol generators, generally battery-powered, allow users to inhale an aerosol that typically contains nicotine mostly, along with flavourings, and other chemicals. They may resemble ordinary objects like pens or USB memory sticks, as well as traditional tobacco cigarettes, cigars, or pipes. In many e-cigarettes, puffing activates the battery-powered heating element, which vapourises the liquid in the cartridge or reservoir. The user then inhales the resulting aerosol or vapour.

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 60+ companies, spanning technology vendors, established healthcare companies, and up-and-coming start-ups engaged in the development and application of vaping device aerosol generators.

Key players in vaping device aerosol generators – 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 vaping device aerosol generators

Company Total patents (2010 - 2021) Premium intelligence on the world's largest companies
Koninklijke Philips 244 Unlock company profile
Siemens 209 Unlock company profile
BrainLAB 127 Unlock company profile
Bracco 112 Unlock company profile
Elekta 108 Unlock company profile
Accuray 81 Unlock company profile
Becton Dickinson and Co 66 Unlock company profile
Aerin Medical 66 Unlock company profile
Bayer 50 Unlock company profile
Raysearch Laboratories 44 Unlock company profile
Shanghai United Imaging Healthcare 40 Unlock company profile
Legrand 40 Unlock company profile
Gearbox 35 Unlock company profile
Immunolight 32 Unlock company profile
Medtronic 27 Unlock company profile
Hitachi 25 Unlock company profile
Toshiba 25 Unlock company profile
Siris Medical 25 Unlock company profile
Biotronik 22 Unlock company profile
Mitsubishi Electric 17 Unlock company profile
Demant 16 Unlock company profile
PT Soho Global Health 16 Unlock company profile
PhotoSonix Medical 15 Unlock company profile
Teleflex Medical 15 Unlock company profile
Creo Medical Group 13 Unlock company profile
Medrad 13 Unlock company profile
L'Oreal 12 Unlock company profile
Applied Biophotonics 11 Unlock company profile
Stryker 11 Unlock company profile
Lutronic 11 Unlock company profile
LG 10 Unlock company profile
Atomic Oncology 10 Unlock company profile
E. Merck KG 10 Unlock company profile
Sensai 9 Unlock company profile
Canon 9 Unlock company profile
International Business Machines 9 Unlock company profile
WellsCare 9 Unlock company profile
Nucletron Operations 9 Unlock company profile
SANUWAVE Health 9 Unlock company profile
German Cancer Research Center 9 Unlock company profile
Soovu Labs 8 Unlock company profile
ViewRay 8 Unlock company profile
gRadiant Research 8 Unlock company profile
CareWear 8 Unlock company profile
WinMedical 8 Unlock company profile
Lindeman Asia Investment 8 Unlock company profile
Light Line Medical 7 Unlock company profile
Inikoa Medical 7 Unlock company profile
Tel Hashomer Medical Research Infrastructure and Services 7 Unlock company profile
Sony Group 7 Unlock company profile

Source: GlobalData Patent Analytics

Koninklijke Philips is one of the leading patent filers in the field of vaping device aerosol generators. Some other key patent filers in the field include Siemens and BrainLAB.

In terms of application diversity, Stryker leads the pack, followed by Legrand and Aerin Medical. By means of geographic reach, Creo Medical Group holds the top position, followed by Applied Biophotonics and Atomic Oncology in second and third spots, respectively.

There has been much debate over the safety of e-cigarette usage and its potential as a smoking cessation therapy. Furthermore, it has been observed that the heating process might result in the production of new breakdown chemicals of unknown toxicity. The orientation of the machine-vaping device suggests that it may have an impact on aerosol production, and this lessens the possibility of e-liquid leaking and encourages better wicking. The future of vape devices completely relies on the outcomes of studies related to the effects of vaping on the human body.

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.