Membership Spotlight: Peyton LaBauve, FACHE

Please tell us a little about your background and what inspired you to pursue a career in healthcare:

My first experience in healthcare was through the Air Force in 2012. I joined and was trained as a combat medic but otherwise worked as an EMT, phlebotomist or medical assistant, based on where I was needed on a given day. The vast majority of my training was in the hospital setting, and at Brooke Army Medical Center I cycled through all of the major departments. Working in the ED, L&D, and the ICU were the most formative and memorable to me. I derived a great degree of fulfillment from caring for patients and can even remember the most touching interactions over ten years later.

After I transitioned to the reserves, I taught at a certification school teaching EKG and Phlebotomy skills before entering college. In college, I majored in Biology and was a teaching assistant for a medical school prep course. Additionally, I piloted a care coordination program at our local hospital aimed at reducing the admissions of the top 5% admitting patients in our community, many of whom had 20-30 admissions in a given year prior to our interventions. Seeing the difference that individuals on every level could make in the lives of patients directly informed my desire to work in healthcare and further developed my appreciation for teaching and mentorship.

Today I have the distinct privilege of working as Program Director for the Moody Neurorehabilitation Institute at Tideway in Galveston, where my team and I provide high quality care and services for brain injury patients in a personalized manner. I also have the honor of teaching for my alma mater, Texas Tech Health Sciences Center, which helps to remind me each semester that it is incumbent upon us as leaders to mentor and bring up the next generation of healthcare professionals. From the classroom to the bedside, we truly have the opportunity to make a difference in the lives of our communities – an opportunity and calling I’ll be forever grateful for.

What activities do you like to do in your free time?

When we aren’t working, my wife and I love to travel. A lot of our friends are getting married and having kids right now so we are trying to make it to all the showers and weddings we can. We also have gotten into pickle ball and enjoy daily walks. On my own time, I have recently taken more interest in skill building including learning how to code using Python. So far I can do data analysis and create visualizations. As someone without a coding background it all kind of feels like magic.  We are also expecting a baby girl in September so I’ve been spending more time than you could imagine learning about baby products including strollers which now I can name by brand!

What is your favorite ACHE memory or activity?

My absolute favorite memory is volunteering with other members of ACHE-SETC at the Center for Success and Independence in Houston. I’ve participated 2-3 times by now and I have to say it’s probably my favorite volunteering activity. The kids are all very bright, and I can tell that us being there adds value to their time as well. I consider myself very fortunate to be where I am, and I think that any opportunity to provide a positive influence or outlet for individuals who may not otherwise have one is time well spent. I truly appreciate the effort ACHE-SETC puts into working with this population and am happy to know that there is a sustained commitment from our local chapter to continue. 

How do you envision healthcare in the next 10 years?

This is a very difficult question. Technology is evolving at such an accelerated pace, and I truly believe that machine learning and AI will transform how we conduct business much in the same way that the internet, electronic records, and big data have. I also think that there are care implications for wearables and AR & VR applications that we will see emerge over the coming years. Regarding machine learning and AI, I think the common misconception is that we will primarily use large language models to communicate with patients or in making diagnoses – while we certainly may use AI in this way, I think the more exciting implications have to do with the ability to make predictions, sort populations, and analyze large and complex sets of data that may or may not be complete. With machine learning we can identify trends, patterns, new processes, insights, and medications – it really is very real, and very exciting.

Beyond the implications of massive technological change, I really think we are going to have to evolve in how we look at retention, staffing, and the employee experience overall. The pandemic challenged what we knew about our business model and in many cases exposed to us our limitations. Most of us had to contend with heavy restrictions, new, accelerated, and often broken supply chains – and with the loss of staff via burnout, early retirement, and other factors, contract staffing became a new normal. There are a lot of great contract staff, but we all know the risks and costs that come with staff who we haven’t fully vetted ourselves, who don’t know our policies or processes, or who aren’t completely bought into our individual cultures. While we have to ask the question now, we are going to have to continue to find the answers to the questions about how we get people to stay, and why some staff will choose to stay in one place versus another.

I am optimistic though, because it seems there is a new emphasis on patient and staff experience as a strategic priority emerging across advanced countries. Patient experience is a huge focus of mine and I think the cumulative impact of investing in patient experience will be the tempering of a more equitable and patient-centered care continuum. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it ultimately is cost effective – and regarding staff, studies even show that happier staff produce better outcomes – who doesn’t want that?

The last thing I really hope to see is a continued focus on wellness and health, versus just sick care and medical intervention. I think this is something we all want and have wanted for a while. There is so much potential for growth, and my hope is that as technology advances so too will healthcare literacy and general wellness

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