The 10 Most Innovative Companies in Health Care

From GE to Epocrates, these companies are changing the business of keeping us healthy.


This post was written by Ellen McGirt and Chuck Salter.


01 / Epocrates >>

For creating software that gives doctors and nurses instant information on drug-to-drug interactions, treatment recommendations, and more on their mobile devices or laptops. Coming up: mobile access to electronic health records.

02 / SynCardia Systems >>

For giving mobility to artificial-heart recipients. Syncardia makes the world’s only FDA-approved completely artificial heart. Now, thanks to a 13-pound portable power supply, recipients can leave the hospital for the first time and return home. During a ten-year study for the FDA, 79 percent of patients successfully lived on the man-made heart until receiving a human heart transplant.

03 / Voxiva >>


For developing mobile apps that coach users through everything from smoking cessation to diabetes management. The company recently worked with the U.S. government to launch Text4Baby, a mobile education program for pregnant women, and its work in poor countries like Rwanda has been a lifeline.

04 / Cleveland Clinic

For rethinking the entire hospital experience, from the buildings to the hospital gown, with an eye to delivering a better patient experience. Ombudsman complaints dropped over 40% last year (versus 2009), patient satisfaction scores have gone up, and medical outcomes have been better across the board.

05 / SafePoint

For providing a solution for one of the most intractable global health care issues: reused syringes, which render most injections in India, Pakistan, and Africa–and a growing number in the U.S.–unsafe and sometimes fatal. Inventor Marc Koska’s low-cost syringe can’t be reused–one use, it locks in place. Now, after eight years in the marketplace, Koska has licensing agreements with 14 countries and SafePoint’s global awareness campaigns have reached over 500 million people.

06 / Envoy Medical


For creating the first FDA-approved surgically implanted hearing system to address hearing loss caused by aging, noise and viral infections. Placed under the skin behind the ear, the Envoy device comprises a sound processor, sensor, and driver that convert vibrations in the ear into electrical signals that are processed so they’re perceived as sound.

07 / GE >>

For promising to revolutionize diagnosis with the Vscan, a mobile, pocket-size ultrasound machine the size of an iPod, connected to short wand. It works just like the bulky conventional ultrasound machine, providing an instant visual image (in color or black and white) inside the body, beyond a patient’s vital signs.

08 / PharmaSecure

For coming up with cost-effective protection against counterfeit drugs, which are especially prevalent in developing nations. Each individual drug package is stamped with a unique code and phone number. Consumers submit the code via text message, and PharmaSecure confirms the drug’s authenticity. The service launched last year and is currently being used in India, where the government has moved to mandate the technology. Under the law, PharmaSecure expects to produce up to a billion security codes drug drugs this year.

09 / NeuroVigil


For building a database of brainwave activity to help researchers recognize disease patterns in people affected by neural or nervous system maladies. The company’s iBrain headband, worn at night, uses wireless electrodes to capture brainwaves. NeuroVigil’s software interprets the data to produce a map of activity during sleep that’s richer than anything previously available. Such tech could both help researchers identify biomarkers for early diagnosis of cognitive disorders (such as Parkinson’s) and reveal how drugs affect the brain, a crucial step toward personalized medical treatment.

10 / Second Sight Medical Products

For its ground-breaking retinal-implant technology, which recently hit the European market. FDA approval is pending.

Browse our list of The World’s Most Innovative Companies 2011

[Photograph by: Psyberartist]