A survey of professionals in the healthcare industry has revealed that almost three out of four believe their organisations' big data initiatives are delivering a positive return on investment.

The Accenture Healthcare Technology Vision 2015, published on Tuesday (June 23rd), found that 73 per cent of doctors and clinicians report successful outcomes in their projects to capture and analyze patient data, such as the use of wearables to track fitness and vital signs.

Furthermore, 85 per cent of physicians are of the opinion that this improves patients' engagement with their own health, while 76 per cent believe that it helps them to manage – and potentially improve – their conditions.

Kaveh Safavi, JD MD and leader of Accenture's health business, hailed the findings. "The advent of real-time patient data, smarter technologies and individualized services will help health providers break from their traditional business models and provide outcome-focused services for individuals," he said.

However, the survey also revealed some of the data-related challenges that healthcare providers have yet to overcome.

More than two in five professionals (41 per cent) report that their organisations' data volumes have grown more than 50 per cent in the last 12 months alone. Around four in five (84 per cent), meanwhile, believe that healthcare providers will need to embark upon machine learning initiatives in the next three years, and 83 per cent say they are likely to be managing both employees and intelligent machines within that timeframe.

"As the digital revolution gains momentum, doctors and clinicians will use machines to augment human labor, personalize care and manage more complex tasks," Dr Safavi commented.

In April, a report from Stoltenberg Consulting found that more than half (51 per cent) of healthcare professionals are uncertain about what data they should be collecting as part of their big data initiatives.

A further 34 per cent admit that analytics deployments are held back by a lack of buy-in within their organisations.