Presbyterian Health Plan, Inc.

Case Study – Presbyterian Health Plan, Inc.

See the NM Business Weekly Article

The Need:

Presbyterian Health Plan contact center service representatives were having difficulty finding the information they needed to have at their fingertips. Information was hidden in numerous documents. To make matters worse, each Presbyterian Health Services department had a different method for categorizing the documents that were mainly (but not entirely) in its domain; these methods often left out key categorizations and were inconsistent with each other. A thesaurus was needed that would integrate the categorization systems of the different departments and still provide clear, specific categorizations.

A secondary need was the company’s desire to integrate a state-of-the-art medical thesaurus into its search technologies. Medical terminology is vital for a health insurance company’s information-based operations. The thesaurus of choice was MeSH, the U.S. National Library of Medicine’s controlled vocabulary of medical subject headings used for indexing articles for MEDLINE/PubMed. The MeSH thesaurus is used by NLM for indexing articles from 5,200 of the world’s leading biomedical journals.


Presbyterian Health Plan serves more than 418,000 New Mexicans, and is part of the Presbyterian Healthcare Services family. Presbyterian Healthcare Services was founded in New Mexico in 1908, and is the state’s only private, not-for-profit healthcare system. As New Mexico’s largest provider of healthcare, Presbyterian includes seven hospitals, the state’s largest health plan, a strong and growing medical group, and more. Presbyterian employs more than 9,000 people throughout New Mexico who serve to improve the health of individuals, families, and communities.

The Solution:

Access Innovations taxonomists used MAIstro taxonomy software to craft the new thesaurus, carefully modifying the terms as appropriate and developing a hierarchy that would accommodate the various ways of looking at a term. This work was done in very close cooperation with PHP specialists. While the amount of detailed work involved was considerable, the use of MAIstro enabled easy viewing and modification. This was especially helpful in correlating MeSH thesaurus terms and concepts with the nomenclatures used by Presbyterian Health Plan staff. Current work involves Data Harmony system integration with an Oracle/Stellent document management system, and customization to provide special features.

The Results:

Using MAIstro software, Access Innovations created a thesaurus that successfully unified the categorization systems of the different departments and of an internationally recognized medical taxonomy. This will make documents “owned” by any department findable by staff members of other departments, despite differences in terminology. Additionally, the integration of MeSH subject headings will greatly increase the findability of documents specific to particular medical conditions and treatments. Overall, the thesaurus will be a vital information tool in Presbyterian Health Plan’s day-to-day operations.