Despite global disparities in healthcare delivery, each country ultimately has the same goal – to improve the health of their population, whilst providing quality patient care and controlling costs. Healthcare innovations – which are new technologies, processes or products that aim to improve healthcare by making services more efficient, accessible and affordable – have the potential to transform lives and revolutionize medical practices.

Innovation in healthcare is active across multiple R&D sectors, including the deployment of telemedicine, artificial intelligence and machine learning, wearable devices, 3D printing, antimicrobials, blockchain technology, robotics, nanomedicine, internet of things and more! Recent advancements in technology, R&D practices, and a growing focus on improving patient outcomes and healthcare efficiency have resulted in the rapid evolution of healthcare innovations in recent years. However, this rapid advance also comes with challenges such as data security, regulatory compliance and ethical considerations, which need to be addressed for successful implementation.

Connect, our online partnering platform for academia and industry, currently hosts 8,000+ live opportunities developed by teams at universities and research institutes from around the world who are looking to collaborate with innovation-driven companies. We’ve analyzed the interactions and views data from the last year on our partnering platform to find the 17 top healthcare innovations that are most of interest to our industry audience.

The list we’ve compiled reflects the healthcare innovations that received the highest levels of engagement from R&D professionals at companies including Colgate-Palmolive, Beiersdorf, Hartmann, CogniTek, and many others who use our platform to find new academic partners. The ranking takes three key metrics into account:

  1. The number of introduction requests to the academic teams behind each project.
  2. Positive feedback from companies
  3. Total article reads.


The links in this report will take you to a preview of the article. To read the full article and to engage with the team behind the project you will need to take a minute to

The platform is completely free for industry and there are no downstream success fees. It is funded by institutional subscriptions and is currently in use at 250+ universities and academic institutes worldwide.

17 top healthcare innovations 2023 infographic

Top healthcare innovations infographic

How did we curate our top innovations list?

To create the list of 17 top healthcare innovations, we collected data from the past year on our matchmaking platform, looking at the number of introduction requests from companies to the academic teams behind each project, positive feedback from the companies reviewing them and total article reads. We used these metrics to create a longlist, out of which we used the engagement rate to collate the shortlist.

However, there were a few cases where the engagement rate did not fully reflect the amount of industry interest in a technology, for example a technology with only one view and one introduction would rank higher than a technology with a much larger number of views and more introductions, but the latter is clearly more of interest to industry. Therefore there were some instances that we assessed the technologies on a case-by-case basis.

Additionally, there is some disparity as to whether antimicrobial technologies should be considered as healthcare innovations. We have decided to include these technologies because of their major effect on the healthcare industry and because of the high level of interest shown in antimicrobials from R&D professionals.

If you have any questions about the curation process, please feel free to contact our team via

What role do academia-industry collaborations play in healthcare innovation?

Collaboration of industry and academia aims to drive advancements in healthcare technologies, practices and solutions – aiming to bridge the gap between theoretical research and practical application in order to benefit patients, healthcare providers, and society as a whole.

The benefits of forming a partnership extend to both healthcare R&D industries and academia. For example, the difference in experience between industry and academia means that valuable knowledge exchange can occur, as industry brings real-world challenges and insights, while academia can contribute expertise in research, data analysis, and theoretical foundations. Additionally, the two parties may be able to pool their resources. Academia often provides access to cutting-edge research facilities, specialized equipment, and talented researchers and students. Industries can leverage these resources for research and development efforts that might be cost-prohibitive or time-consuming to set up on their own.

Further benefits of collaboration include increased funding opportunities for the healthcare innovation, as academia and industry can utilize each other’s funding networks and resources. Ultimately, collaboration between the two can accelerate innovation, meaning products can be developed at a faster rate. As a result, many long term partnerships between healthcare industries and academia have formed. One success story comes from Medtronic and University of Minnesota who collaborated in 1957 on the development of the first implantable pacemaker. This partnership laid the foundation for the field of medical device innovation and cardiac rhythm management. Today, Medtronic is a cornerstone of the medical device industry in Minnesota, demonstrating that the collaboration was fruitful, becoming the birthplace for a new global industry. This example demonstrates that collaboration of industry and academia, and the resulting sharing of resources, knowledge and funding, is integral to the development of novel healthcare innovations.

Challenges and considerations in developing new healthcare innovations

Various challenges and ethical considerations are involved in the development of new healthcare innovations, especially in industry-academia partnerships. Translating academic research into products that have commercial value can be tricky, for example it may be required to scale up research findings to meet industry standards. IP ownership also poses a challenge, as many complexities are involved in addressing the IP ownership in collaborative projects, alongside difficulties in arranging licensing agreements.

Additionally, collaborative development of healthcare innovations includes ethical considerations such as safeguarding patient data in a digital healthcare landscape and ensuring ethical research conduct and patient safety in joint projects. Any conflicts of interest in the academic-industry partnership should be taken into account and communication between the parties and the customer should be transparent. Overall, the health innovation should be designed to have benefits to the patient whilst minimizing harm and ensuring the population has equitable access to the innovation.

17 top healthcare innovations for 2023

17. Tracking gazes to assist with surgery

Eye-tracking technology has found its way into healthcare, particularly in radiology and pathology, where it’s utilized to assess the gaze patterns of experts. Its development has potential but has been held back by the challenges of integrating gaze-tracking systems into operating rooms and the substantial costs of commercially available devices,

Researchers at the University Health Network have devised a solution aimed at addressing these limitations. Their innovative gaze-tracking system is designed specifically for surgical environments and offers a cost-effective alternative. The system functions by collecting gaze data through a workstation and converting it into a video which is then transmitted to the audiovisual cabinet for display on surgical monitors. Currently, there are no vendors specializing in operating room equipment that provide integrated eye-tracking hardware, demonstrating the novelty and potential of this technology.

16. Using nanocomposite seaweed in sensors to monitor health

The ability to generate real-time patient data can be a crucial metric in delivering high-quality and tailored healthcare. Healthcare technologies that monitor patients with high precision and minimal invasiveness are vital to enable this to happen.

Nanomaterials developed by the University of Sussex have been integrated with seaweed to create a new, highly accurate sensor technology. These ‘seaweed sensors’ offer a new wearable technology which tracks blood pressure, pulse, breathing and joint movement in real-time. This innovation can be a valuable tool to healthcare professionals as the sensor is made from sustainable materials and can outperform and compete with other more advanced and costly technologies in development

15. Making veins easier to access

A billion cannulas are inserted each year globally and replaced every 72 hours to reduce infection risk. Insertion poses challenges, with an average success rate of 2.58 attempts. Often, patients who need it the most – trauma patients, the elderly or children – have veins that are more difficult to access. When no access is found, a senior doctor may need to use ultrasound to access veins in the neck instead. This is risky, painful and expensive.

As a solution to the difficulties seen in venepuncture and cannulation efforts, a team of scientists at the University of Huddersfield have created a device that increases the size, visibility and palpability of target veins within 30 seconds. These are brought together in a topical patch designed to adhere to the common sites for intravenous access. This low-cost and practical invention will reduce the costs of unsuccessful attempts, reduce infection risk and improve patient care, whilst not requiring any training to operate.

14. Detecting neurodegenerative diseases earlier with machine learning

Neurodegenerative disorders affect around 44 million people worldwide and cost the healthcare industry billions each year. Early detection allows for quicker action, reducing effects on the patient and healthcare system as much as possible.

Western University researchers have created a technique that incorporates a machine learning algorithm to detect early disease changes within the brain, allowing treatment interventions before the progression of neurodegeneration. It also reduces radiation risks compared with the use of radioactive tracers in current neurological disorder diagnostics.

13. Delivering drugs in red blood cell-derived vesicles

Vascular thrombosis, a critical medical concern, requires prompt removal of blood clots to restore blood flow. A common intervention strategy is intravenous infusion of tissue plasminogen activator (tPA), but its short half-life and susceptibility to inactivation by inhibitors pose challenges, leading to high doses that result in bleeding risks.

Researchers at Imperial College London have developed a novel technology involving red blood cell-derived vesicles (RBCVs) carrying targeting ligands and encapsulated active agents (thrombolytic and antiplatelet drugs). This platform enhances drug stability and controlled release while remaining compatible with various thrombolytic drugs in development. This technology holds promise for developing therapeutic solutions for thrombotic diseases such as stroke, myocardial infarction, and pulmonary embolism.

A team of scientists viewing results from a CT scan

12. A human-machine interface that communicates through breath patterns

Human-machine interface (HMI) systems provide a solution to many of the challenges associated with completing daily tasks faced by those with severe disabilities. These systems include brain-computer interfaces, electromyography switches and eye gaze trackers, although their use is hindered by their invasive nature and high cost.

Researchers at Case Western Reserve University have developed a cheap, innovative, and simple HMI that uses a person’s breath patterns to communicate with various devices. This provides a highly sensitive, non-invasive, and low-cost sensor to solve some of the problems faced with HMI’s available today.

11. Inactivating viruses with air curtains

Routine medical procedures for those suffering from viral infections often require close proximity between the patient and healthcare professionals. This increases the likelihood of viral exposure, thus posing a risk to the healthcare professional.

Scientists at Nagoya University have developed a desktop device that produces a unique ‘air-curtain’ to block aerosols. This method also uses a virus-inactivation device that irradiates the intake of air using UV rays. This technology reduces the risk of virus exposure for patients and healthcare workers during medical procedures where it is difficult to maintain a sufficient distance, such as medical interviews, blood sampling, and treatment.

10. Intravenous training arm with tactile feedback and motion control

Scientists at the University Health Network (a public research and teaching hospital network in Toronto) have developed a first-of-its-kind intravenous training arm featuring tactile feedback and remote motion control. The functional prototype allows for the flexion of the index finger by remote control. 

Replacing the current practice of training using verbal feedback with this method could help in reducing the 10.1% error rate for intravenously administered medication. This enhanced intravenous training arm can be integrated into different simulation modalities, providing benefits to task trainers, manikins, standardized patients and hybrid simulation.

9. Enriching mental health treatment with machine learning

As a response to the extreme burden put upon frontline workers during the COVID-19 pandemic, researchers at Cornell University have created an easy-to-use online tool to monitor the mental health symptoms of at-risk individuals and provide real-time treatment resources. 

This technology utilizes novel machine learning methods from an extensive fMRI database to objectively track quantitative scores over time and produce reliable and immediate feedback. Applications include studying psychiatric symptoms, providing cognitive behavioral therapy via apps, and providing measurable endpoints in clinical trials.

8. New tools to automate mobility assessments

Manual mobility assessments are often time-consuming and inaccurate. To overcome this problem, researchers at York University (Canada) have developed a new method called GAMAT (Gait and Mobility Assessment Toolbox)that utilizes computer vision algorithms and LIDAR-based devices for automated and faster, more accurate mobility assessments.

Designed with routine balance tests as part of its suite, GAMAT performs complex bio-mechanical assessments of a person’s static and dynamic balance and locomotion. The system saves time and resources for healthcare professionals by producing detailed assessments of balance and performance-oriented mobility. The team developing the technology are open to a range of collaboration types.

7. Mapping the microbiome onto personalized healthcare products with AI

A healthy microbiome is essential for the human body to function. Therefore, it is crucial for a number of industries to understand how microbiome functioning influences the body in order to develop a new generation of more effective personalised products and treatments.

Research conducted by scientists at the Science & Technology Facilities Council has led to an AI-framework that can identify the link between a person’s microbiome and specific health conditions. In this framework, machine learning models establish how the abundance of each species in the microbiome affects the prediction of health and wellbeing. This framework can then be used to accelerate the development of bespoke treatments or products, such as cosmetics, pharmaceuticals or food products.

6. A multi-system approach to improve breast cancer treatment

Breast cancer is the most prevalent cancer in women worldwide, with the standard surgical treatment being lumpectomy, in which the tumor is removed from the breast while sparing as much healthy tissue as possible. However, limitations in surgical navigation often means additional surgeries are required.

A team of scientists at Queen’s University have developed a state-of-the-art surgical navigation system using ultrasound, electromagnetic tracking, and proprietary software to improve spatial awareness in lumpectomy surgery. As a result, fewer additional surgeries will be required, reducing healthcare costs and trauma to the patient, whilst also improving cosmetic outcomes.

5. Real-time detection of health conditions

The advancement of wearable technology has opened the door to more convenient, less invasive and more personalized medical devices that can be mass-produced whilst maintaining cost efficiency. In conjunction with this, advancements in 3D printing technology allow for manufacturers to overcome traditional issues during fabrication and create a new wave of wearable medical devices and capitalize on a market expected to reach $38.9Bn by 2026.

Researchers at the University of Hawaii have taken note of this emerging market and deployed rapid fabrication technology to create a stretchy, multi-layered ‘sweat sticker’ that can be retrofitted to analyze for specific conditions and provide real-time data for health tracking purposes. The technology uses a simplified and streamlined 3D printing process to create multi-purpose sensors that can be applied to patients of all ages, in order to provide a more cost-effective and non-invasive method of tracking chronic health conditions. 

4. Personalised, AI-informed orthopaedic insoles for diabetes patients

Over a million people with diabetes undergo lower limb amputation each year due to poor management of diabetic foot problems including foot ulcers, infections, and gangrene.

To reduce the global burden of diabetes-related amputations, scientists at Pontificia Universidad Javeriana designed Diapetics®, a telemedicine-based technology aiding in the diagnosis, design, prescription, and manufacturing of personalized orthopedic insoles. By leveraging artificial intelligence to integrate and analyze gathered patient data, Diapetics® allow for creating truly personalized orthopedic insoles in an automated and reliable manner.

3. An anti-biofilm agent that prevents antimicrobial resistance

Microbial biofilms are a source of chronic infection, causing illness in 14 million people, and 350,000 deaths across the globe annually. The removal of biofilms using biocidal agents poses a challenge as the biofilms are susceptible to developing antimicrobial resistance (AMR).

To rectify this, researchers at Georgia State University have worked to uncover new compounds from the Gesho plant that exhibit anti-biofilm activity. This technology has the potential to be used as surface disinfectants and for topical applications, as well a therapeutic for chronic wounds, urinary tract infections, and nosocomial infections.

2. Novel antibiotics for Gram-positive bacteria

Researchers working at the University of California, Irvine have designed a new class of antibiotics showing promising results in the treatment of MRSA, pneumonia & tuberculosis. The team has devised a facile synthesis of teixobactin analogs, including a novel class of teixobactin derivatives that displays promise against Gram-positive bacteria. 

New antibiotic modalities like this are crucial in helping to reduce the burden on the healthcare industry from antibiotic resistance, which costs the industry around $55 billion per year due to prolonged hospital admissions and the need for secondary treatments.

1. A new enzyme-based method for treating biofilm-associated infections

The presence of biofilm-associated infections (BAIs) during chronic wound healing has been directly associated with an increase in healthcare costs and patient discomfort due to their resistance to antibiotics. The resistance is due in part to the presence of Extra Polymeric Substances (EPS) in the biofilm creating physical and chemical barriers to antibiotics.

A research team at Texas Tech University System has devised a new method to target EPS biofilms that can be used in tandem with standard antibiotics. Their method works using a specific combination of enzymes that act by dismantling and degrading the EPS, facilitating more effective wound treatment and addressing the concerns of BAI antibiotic resistance. This means that wounds can be treated without requiring the removal of tissue, which would cause further pain and discomfort to the patient.

Written by Emily Jones. Edited by Alex Stockham and Joseph Ferner.

Technology summaries written by: Nathan Ford (1, 5, 12), Daisy Gillot (2, 10, 14), April Douglas (3, 9, 14), Dagmara Szmaglinska (4) and Emily Jones (6, 7, 8, 12, 13, 16, 17)

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