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U.S. Navy Officers Honored for Health Information Technology Excellence

Image of U.S. Navy Officers Honored for Health Information Technology Excellence. U.S. Navy Capt. Donna Poulin (fifth from left), the former chief of engineering solutions, Engineering Solutions Architecture, Business Analytics Division, met with military health IT leaders in San Antonio, Texas, in April 2024. Second from left is U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. “Gean” Boca. Boca is the winner of the 2023 Senior Information Technology Officer of the Year award from the Department of Defense Chief Information Officer Awards in the Program Executive Office Medical Systems/CIO. (Photo: courtesy of the U.S. Navy)

U.S. Navy officers are recent recipients of two prestigious awards for their health information technology leadership, including their work to optimize the electronic health records system for the Department of Defense. The EHR, called MHS GENESIS, recently completed its global deployment across the DOD.

The Navy Medical Service Corps chief selected U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. “Gean” Michael Bocaas the Medical Service Corps Officer of the Year (Senior Information Technology Officer) for 2023. Boca will receive his honor during the annual Defense Health Information Technology Symposium, Aug. 20–Aug. 22, 2024, in Dallas, Texas.

U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Raben Talvo won the 2024 American College of Healthcare Executives Navy Regent Early Career Healthcare Executive Award, which was presented to him in March 2024 at the Lewis E. Angelo Professional Symposium in Chicago, Illinois.

Boca’s Engineering Leadership

Boca serves as the deputy branch chief, Engineering and Architecture Branch of the Engineering Solutions Architecture-Business Analytics Division, Program Executive Office for Medical Systems/Chief Information Officer for the Defense Health Agency.

“His superb leadership, administrative, and business skills have been invaluable, and he serves in a critical role,” said Pat Flanders, PEO Medical Systems/CIO.

Boca oversees all networking and infrastructure efforts to maintain and expand existing and future medical community of interest websites across the DOD.

“He leads engineering projects that span DHA, providing direction to solution architects and chief engineers to deliver high-quality, cost-effective, and secure IT infrastructure supporting all aspects of health-service delivery and decision support,” Flanders stated.

Boca addressed more than 142 Military Health System network engineering requests that “ensured integration of cybersecurity, infrastructure, and solutions, engineered 25 MHS cloud migrations, and led modernization of the enterprise network for seamless delivery” to MHS, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and the U.S. Coast Guard while he served as the chair of the engineering review board, Flanders wrote.

“As a testament to his leadership, Boca was hand selected to serve as the lead for the Domain Compliance, Alignment, and Transition Team,” the CIO wrote. DCAT addressed the decommissioning of legacy health record networks and the standardization of protected personal health information across DOD for its 9.5 million beneficiaries.

“His leadership, foresight, and problem-solving skills make him a ‘slam dunk’ selection as Senior Healthcare Administration Officer of the Year,” said Flanders.

Talvo’s San Diego Experience

Talvo has significant managed care program experience, including oversight of TRICARE operations, utilization, case, and disease management, and patient relations while stationed in San Diego, as stated in his nomination memo. He served from August 2021 to June 2023 as associate director for health care business at the Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command San Diego, which primarily supports the Naval Medical Center San Diego and its more than 265,000 beneficiaries.

US. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Raben Talvo Receives Navy ACHE AwardU.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Richard Bly, American College of Healthcare Executives Navy Regent (left) congratulates U.S. Navy Lt. Cmdr. Raben Talvo on receiving the ACHE 2024 Early Career Healthcare Executive Award in March 2024 at the Lewis E. Angelo Professional Symposium in Chicago, Illinois. (courtesy photo)

Working with DHA’s All-Cause Readmissions Work Group, Talvo helped improve workflow and data capture for emergency departments and inpatient discharge procedures to streamline MHS GENESIS, as stated in his nomination letter. The initiative is under the DHA Medical Management Work Group, and Talvo was the San Diego market lead from 2021 to 2023.

The team initiative “not only set a new benchmark for excellence but also harmonized practices and documentation throughout the MHS. Significantly, this standardization of documentation played an important role in reducing readmission rates, demonstrating the profound impact of consistent and clear procedural guidelines on patient outcomes,” said U.S. Navy Capt. (Dr.) Kelly Elmore, an OB/GYN and chief of staff at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, who wrote Talvo’s nomination memo from her experience as his director in San Diego.

Talvo also provided oversight on a renewed NMRTC San Diego and the VA San Diego Healthcare System resource-sharing agreement, which provides “the framework for staffing, logistical support, information management, and billing responsibilities,” Elmore said.

Additionally, he served as the NMRTC San Diego lead for the MHS GENESIS revenue cycle expansion project known as RevX, which “involved integrating patient accounting, medical coding, and patient registration/access processes seamlessly,” said Elmore. RevX “not only enhanced operational efficiency in patient check-ins, encounters, and billing processes, but also significantly improved patient safety,” she wrote.

Talvo is a registered nurse and is a member of the Navy Nurse Corps Strategic Goal Group. There, Talvo helps with “key recruitment targets” as part of the U.S. Navy Medicine North Star vision for 2027 manning and hospital ships.

“His journey, defined by transformative roles from strategic planning at Navy Medicine Readiness and Training Command San Diego to innovative leadership at DHA, demonstrates an exceptional blend of visionary foresight, strategic acumen, and a steadfast commitment to health care excellence for continuous improvement and diversity,” Elmore wrote.

Talvo currently serves as a program manager within the Clinical Support Program Management Office of the Solution Delivery Division of PEO Medical Systems/CIO. He is an ACHE fellow and one of more than 49,000 health care executives in the professional organization. Talvo completed the 2023 ACHE Thomas C. Dolan Career Accelerator Program.

Since August 2023, he has been guiding “multimillion-dollar product initiatives, including acquisition, technical development, and software development life-cycle management,” within the Clinical Support Program Management Office.

Importance of Support and Mentoring

Boca said he considers himself lucky to be able to pursue his passion for health care information management and information technology and acknowledges his biggest supporters—his wife, Becky (a retired U.S. Marine), and retired U.S. Navy Capt. Donna Poulin. Poulin served as chief of engineering solutions in the Architecture-Business Analytics Division until May 2024 and has been instrumental in mentoring the U.S. Navy IM/IT officers in DHA, Boca said.

Talvo had this advice: “In IT, it’s easy to lose sight of who we’re really working for. Always keep the concept of patient care at the forefront in everything you do.”

Additionally, he said be sure you have a mentor “who has your best interests [at heart] and can advise you.” Talvo attributed his success to “having great mentors” such as Poulin and Elmore.

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Last Updated: June 17, 2024
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