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Most people consider themselves lucky if they like their job. But when a true passion fuels a career, something really special results that positively impacts everyone it touches. In Dr. John Noble’s case, his dual passions for medicine and development are benefitting the entire Southwest Louisiana region.
Originally from Lake Charles, John Noble Jr., MD, earned an undergraduate degree from McNeese State University. He earned his Medical Degree from Louisiana State University Medical School in New Orleans and completed an Orthopaedic Residency at LSU Medical Center, before completing a Fellowship at Baylor College of Medicine in Houston, Texas. He has over 25 years of medical practice experience and joined the Center for Orthopaedics (CFO) in 2000. His practice is now focused exclusively on sports medicine.
Dr. Noble was recently inducted as the 142nd President of the Louisiana State Medical Society (LSMS). He is only the 4th physician from Southwest Louisiana to serve in this leadership role for the organization’s 143-year history.
Dr. Noble is also the founder and president of Noble Development and the managing partner of The Villages of Imperial Pointe. Thrive spoke with Dr. Noble about his unique career path.
What made you choose to return to Southwest Louisiana for your home and practice?
There are so many different reasons why we returned. My wife Cinda and I are both from Southwest Louisiana. Our families go back six generations and we are fortunate to have highly supportive families.
During my orthopedic residency, we rotated for three months in Lake Charles with Dr. David Drez, who became my primary orthopedic mentor. He was committed to excellence, was internationally known, and was the state’s orthopedic academic leader then.
In my medical training and early career, I traveled around the country, and I quickly realized that the friendliest people were those from the Lake Charles area. I’ve been incredibly blessed to have the best patients in the country.
I believe Lake Charles is poised to be one of the greatest cities in the nation. We have unbelievable resources here. We reside along the I-10 corridor, have vast water assets, have a vibrant pipeline grid, are leaders in liquefied natural gas, and have a great culture with a beautiful university.
Every day, I try to do everything possible to make this a better place. If we follow the plan of Just Imagine Southwest Louisiana, we won’t recognize this community in 10 years. We must all become ambassadors for SWLA. We must never give up the rebuilding process; we cannot take no for an answer. Everyone in the community must get on board and embrace the future with optimism.
What are the most significant changes that have taken place in healthcare during your career?
The positive changes I’ve seen have all been related to technology. Over the past two decades, we have seen substantial video refinement, improving our ability to perform arthroscopic procedures. The implants we use today to repair tendons and ligaments are dramatically better than when I first started. Anesthetic techniques and peri-operative pain control have also vastly improved over the past two decades.
Regarding joint replacement, the two significant improvements have been in biomaterials and the actual technique. The joint replacements we are now doing should last for decades, as many of the issues associated with wear have been solved. We are seeing dramatic improvements in early postoperative outcomes due to robotic technology, and all joint replacements will utilize automated technology in the next decade or two.
Unfortunately, the most damaging developments I’ve seen are related to payment. Incredibly callous procedures now deny or slow reimbursement. Unfortunately, we cannot always access the incredible technology at our disposal because of these intentional speed bumps. Insurance companies have the time and resources to create policies to delay payment to physicians and facilities. Doctors work 60 hours or more a week caring for people and don’t have the time or the energy to fight these policies.
You’ve been involved in numerous research projects throughout your career. What did this add to your practice?
Most doctors believe they are the best at what they do. The problem is there usually needs to be objective data to show that. I wanted to ensure my outcomes were similar or better to remarkable institutions around the country, and research allowed me to do this. This objective analysis helped me learn what worked and what did not. Only through this process can we genuinely understand and improve our techniques.
Do you have specific goals as President of the Louisiana State Medical Society (LSMS)?
My goal in working on behalf of LSMS is to ensure that physicians have representation at the state level to advocate for preserving the practice of medicine and patient safety. I’m focused on the fundamentals of business and policy. If no one supports physicians, our entire healthcare system is in jeopardy. There is no other organization in our state that looks after the best interest of every physician.
Twenty years ago, you became involved in real estate development. How has that journey evolved?
My first development was a residential neighborhood. Next, I worked closely with Dr. Alan Lacoste and The Eye Clinic, helping to develop our original campus. We then acquired 55 more acres of adjacent property, allowing us to form what is now known as Imperial Pointe. It didn’t take me long to understand that the sheer volume of patients on our campus helped drive real estate value. We had initially considered patterning our development after River Ranch in Lafayette, but after evaluating all the medical demands for SWLA, Imperial Pointe became a medical campus supporting senior living.
As we speak, I am actively working on five new substantial projects at Imperial Pointe. These will take South Lake Charles to the next level. We are also working on five different food concepts, which will provide many other options for those living and working on and off campus; all but one of these will be unique and new.
How do you balance the demands of two challenging and different careers?
Noble Development’s mission is to create healthcare developments utilizing software and intelligent real estate development to create the best possible health outcomes and customer service. We will focus on the future medical office building and the software necessary to create the best experiences. This is very much in line with my approach to patient care. On the surface, it may seem like two separate careers, but they are very interrelated to me. Of course, both are very time-consuming. My personality is such that I can’t turn a blind eye to the healthcare delivery process or a poorly planned physical space. There is much that can and should be done to improve healthcare service. I spend a lot of energy trying to be as efficient as possible. I like to relax and do everything other people do outside of work, but I can work seven days a week and enjoy it just as much. My wife deserves much credit for enduring my long hours.
What are you most proud of in your career?
I am most proud of the teams we have assembled for CFO and Noble Development. CFO will continue expanding services and the group should be up to 25 physicians by 2026. I am also so proud of my associates and the quality of care they provide. These young physicians and providers could practice anywhere, but they chose CFO because of the culture created by our partners and our administration. All of us eventually age out of surgery, including me. When that happens, our community will have no worries as my young associates are leading advances in our group.
On the Noble Development side, I am fortunate to have a great real estate development team who make my job easy. They are highly dependable, experienced, and have the utmost integrity and creativity.
What’s next for you?
I’m currently the president of Better Day Health, an electronic health record we are using that has great promise. I’ve also recently co-founded two software companies. One of these companies will also greatly enhance the patient and provider experience. The other is a consumer application that will appeal to musicians and fans and has exceptional potential.
On the real estate side, we have a few surprises up our sleeve. We will be working on the re-gentrification of neighborhoods in our area. We also want to leverage personalities in Southwest Louisiana to create a unique destination.
Whether healthcare, real estate development or software, my focus will always be to improve people’s lives, particularly those in Southwest Louisiana. I don’t plan on retiring. My brain wouldn’t allow it.