For thousands of years, humans have used “big data” to make big decisions. In 4000 BC, the Babylonians conducted the first census, recorded on clay tiles, to estimate how much food was needed to feed the population. Egyptian leaders followed suit in 2500 BC, recording population records to inform the scale of the labor force available to build the pyramids. In ancient Rome, population data was collected every five years to determine tax rates. These great ancient civilizations understood that from information comes the power to make decisions that transform institutions. Today, Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies are leading the transformation of healthcare using the same principles of data-informed decisions. The work is powered by Blue Cross Blue Shield Axisâ„ (BCBS Axis), a data capability unmatched in scope and scale that draws from comprehensive healthcare quality and cost data from all 36 Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies. This rich, aggregated data resource provides insights and solutions for employers, consumers and healthcare professionals to improve the quality and affordability of care. By leveraging the data from more than $350 billion in annual claims, along with 36 million provider records and more than 700,000 BCBS patient reviews found within BCBS Axis, consumers gain access to reliable and accurate information on doctors, hospitals and procedures. These insights power tools like cost-estimators that allow people to locate the right doctor at the best value and make better informed healthcare decisions. BCBS Axis also provides employers a deeper understanding of their workers’ care needs and utilization by fueling solutions like Independence Blue Cross’ Customer AdvisorSM tool. By allowing Independence Blue Cross employer customers to see the most complete and accurate picture of health care costs ever available, Customer AdvisorSM identified a significant savings opportunity for one national Philadelphia-based employer with nearly 4,000 employees in 28 states. Upon further drill-down, the interactive tool highlighted potential savings by location and treatment category, showing imaging — specifically neck and spine MRIs — as a key area for savings. Additionally, BCBS Axis powers solutions for healthcare professionals by benchmarking care delivery patterns and enabling more coordinated, patient-focused care that improves health outcomes for patients. The Blue Cross and Blue Shield System is uniquely positioned to provide insights and intelligence on healthcare quality and cost at the local, regional and national levels because BCBS Axis draws on data from a network that includes more than 92 percent of physicians and 96 percent of hospitals nationwide – and a membership that includes one in every three Americans. BCBS Axis is the only data resource in the healthcare industry that includes information from every ZIP code in the United States. BCBS companies are proud to lead the transformation of healthcare, guided by incomparable data capabilities and the wisdom gained from more than 85 years of leadership within the health insurance industry. For more information on BCBS Axis and how we’re connecting the dots with data, visit http://www.bcbs.com/axis.