Case Study: Presbyterian Health Plan, Inc.

See the NM Business Weekly Article 


Presbyterian Health Plan (PHP) serves more than 418,000 New Mexicans, and is part of the Presbyterian Healthcare Services family. Founded in New Mexico in 1908, Presbyterian is the state’s only private, not-for-profit healthcare system. Presbyterian is the state’s largest provider of healthcare, including seven hospitals, New Mexico’s largest health plan, a strong and growing medical group, and more. Presbyterian employs more than 9,000 people throughout New Mexico.


Presbyterian Health Plan contact center service representatives were having difficulty finding the information they needed because it 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.

Presbyterian needed:

  •  A thesaurus that would integrate categorization systems of different departments and still provide clear, specific categorizations
  • Integration of a  state-of-the-art medical thesaurus into its search technologies because medical terminology was vital for their knowledge base. MeSH, the U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) controlled vocabulary of medical subject headings used for indexing articles for MEDLINE/PubMed was chosen. The MeSH thesaurus is used by NLM for indexing articles from 5,200 of the world’s leading biomedical journals.


Access Innovations taxonomists used Data Harmony’s taxonomy software to craft the new thesaurus, carefully modifying the terms as appropriate and developing a hierarchy that would accommodate various ways of looking at a term. This work was done in very close cooperation with PHP specialists. The use of Data Harmony was especially helpful in correlating MeSH thesaurus terms and concepts with the nomenclatures used by Presbyterian Health Plan staff. Additional work involved Data Harmony system integration with an Oracle document management system, and customization to provide special features.


Using Data Harmony Suite, Access Innovations created a thesaurus that successfully unified the categorization systems of the different departments and of an internationally recognized medical taxonomy. This made documents “owned” by any department findable by staff members of other departments, despite differences in terminology. Additionally, the integration of MeSH subject headings greatly increased the findability of documents specific to particular medical conditions and treatments.