FORT RUCKER, Ala. -- Lyster Army Medical center is improving the patient experience by renovating and consolidating several facilities.

Several renovations will take place throughout the Lyster Army Health Clinic to optimize space, and improve the patient experience from now through mid May.

"Once the renovations are completed, patients will notice a huge difference in their visits" said Col. Patrick Denman, U.S. Army Aeromedical Center commander. "The whole purpose of this project is to put all patient care services close to the main entrance."

The patient service center will be located at the main entrance to provide easy access to patient registration and the Tricare service center. In addition, all primary care managers will also be consolidated from three separate areas to one area adjacent to the pharmacy, and will be organized in teams of four to five providers to improve continuity of care.

"Consolidating our primary care providers into teams is the foundation of the Patient Centered Medical Home and has been adopted at other military installations worldwide. It is designed in essence to bring back the neighborhood doctor from years ago," Denman said. "Each beneficiary is assigned to one primary care provider within each team that will address any healthcare issues the beneficiary may have. The goal is to improve continuity of care from one visit to the next."

The patient service center should be completed by mid-May.

"We hope to start the first provider-team in April, if things stay on schedule," said Lt. Col. Joseph Graham, Lyster Army Health Clinic deputy commander for administration. "We know improved continuity of care will be very valuable to our beneficiaries."

"All renovations should benefit not only our patients but our staff as well. We have more than 222,000 square feet on our main floor and that can translate into a lot of walking, particularly if you are not very familiar with where you need to go," he said. "This project will reduce the need to walk from one end of the facility to the other to handle all your healthcare needs. An information station is also being added to the patient service center to provide information to newcomers and answer questions about services provided."

The renovations and primary care teams are all part of the Army Surgeon General's support of Military Health System's Quadruple Aim, which includes readiness (pre- and post- deployment, Family health, behavioral health and professional competency); population health (health service members, Families and retirees, and quality health care outcomes); a positive patient experience (patient and Family centered care, access and satisfaction); and cost (responsibly managed and focused on value.)

"We want you to have a positive experience" said Graham. "It has been several years since any renovations of this scope have taken place in the facility. Lyster has certainly undergone a lot of changes, particularly as it has adjusted from being a small hospital with inpatient care to an ambulatory health care clinic. We will continue to embrace change particularly when it improves care for our beneficiaries, optimizes operations and patient flow."

Renovations also include adding a cafAfA style room, which will allow patients the opportunity to access the Internet. A coffee cart will also be located in the area with tables and chairs.

"If patients want to just rest a minute after visiting the doctor in the cafAfA room, this will provide a comfortable place to just sit down," Denman said. "We treat between 450 and 625 beneficiaries a day here. We realize we are visitors in our beneficiaries' lives, but we want to do what we can to help make sure the services they receive here are putting them and their healthcare first. That is our goal - to help keep them well and to educate them on staying healthy.

Both Denman and Graham are very appreciative of beneficiaries' patience during the renovation. "While our patients' health care needs should not be interrupted during this process, we would like to thank everyone for helping us improve the patient experience at Lyster Army Health Clinic," Denman said.