United States Patent [191 Greenspan MEDICAL OFFICE FACILITY WITH TWO OR MORE EXAMINING ROOMS HAVING A COMMON EQUIPMENT CORE AREA Inventor: Donald J. Greenspan, Riverside, NJ.
Assignee: U.S. Medical Research and Development Incorporated, Riverside, NJ.
Filed: July 24, 1970 Appl. No; 57,981
 U.S. Cl. 128/1 R, 52/750, 214/16 B,
104/88 Int. Cl B61j 1/00 Field of Search 104/88, 35, 89;
 References Cited UNITED STATES PATENTS 9/1971 Abromavage 104/89 8/1968 Smith 52/65 3/1921 Shaul 1 52/65 1/1965 Chapman 52/64 July 3, 1973 2,764,783 10/1956 Teller ..52/65 2,964,144 12/1960 Whee1er.... 52/65 2,823,425 2/1958 Granek ..52/65 3,543,688 10/1970 Ernst ..104 35 Primary ExaminerRobert G. Sheridan Assistant ExaminerD. W. Keen Attorney-Woodcock, Washburn, Kurtz & Mackiewicz  ABSTRACT A building construction and method of use thereof wherein equipment for use in two or more rooms is contained in a core area common to the rooms and conveyed therein in a manner to maintain isolation between the rooms. In a preferred embodiment, a medical facility is provided for the examination of patients wherein at least two patient examining rooms have a common equipment core area adjacent to both examining rooms. Equipment pods containing medical equipment for given various medical specialties are com tained in the core area and are accessible from each examining room, thereby increasing equipment utilizatron.
11 Claims, 16 Drawing Figures PATENTEDJULS ma SHEU '4 BF 4 MEDICAL OFFICE FACILITY WITH TWO OR MORE EXAMINING ROOMS HAVING A COMMON EQUIPMENT CORE AREA BACKGROUND OF THE INVENTION This invention relates generally to a building structure having a common equipment area for two or more rooms, and more specifically relates to an improved arrangement of two or more medical examining rooms which requires only one set of patient examining equipment.
There has been a well-known trend of medical doctors to specialize in various medical areas, such as general practice, ear-nose-throat, surgery, cardiology, etc. There has also been a trend for medical doctors to share office examining and treatment facilities due to the expense of such facilities and the fact that many doctors do not need such facilities on a full time basis. These trends are not just recent ones but have developed in various stages over a long period of time. These concurrently developing trends have created a need for medical examining facilities and techniques for use thereof wherein several medical specialists may utilize a common facility including at least two patient examining rooms. One specialist, for instance, may utilize the facility a few mornings a week, another specialist utilize the facility the remaining mornings of each week, and yet a third specialist utilize the facility certain afternoons of each week, and so forth. Each specialist, during his use of the facility, requires medical examining and treatment equipment which is peculiar to his specialty and not often desired by the other medical specialists sharing the same facility. Each specialist utilizes the facility by examining a patient in one of the at least two examining rooms while a nurse or other personnel prepares a patient in a second examining room. When the doctor finishes with one patient in the first examining room he then proceeds to the second examiningroom. Each specialist generally requires the same equipment available for use in each of the two examining rooms.
Since each specialist requires his own particular type of equipment when he is in each of the two examining rooms, one approach would be to install such equipment in each of the rooms. The difficulty with this approach is that each of the rooms would become cluttered because of the large variety of equipment necessary for each of the specialists while a given specialist at a given time would only be using one piece of equipment in each room. Besides the unsightly character of such an arrangement, the examining rooms would have to be large for storage of such equipment, thereby increasing the rental or real estate costs for such a medical facility. Therefore, it is an object of this invention to provide each medical specialist with the equipment that he needs in each examining room when he is present therein to examine a patient without the presence of idle equipment used by other specialists at other times.
One possibility in satisfying this object is to have a storage room for the various types of equipment from which equipment pertaining to a particular specialty is moved into each examining room for use during the few hours that the specialist is using the facility. However, this approach has certain difficulties since a great deal of time of other personnel is required in moving equipment around if stored in a hodgepodge manner.
Therefore, it is another object of this invention to provide for orderly movement and removal of medical specialty equipment into each of the examining rooms.
It is yet another object of the present invention to make it necessary for a given specialist or general practitioner to only have one set of equipment which can be transferred between examining rooms as the doctor alternately utilizes them to examine a succession of patients, thereby to reduce medical equipment cost.
It is also an object of the present invention to provide a technique and medical facility for improving the efficiency of each of several distinct medical specialists when using the facility.
It is yet a further object of the present invention to provide a technique and a medical facility therefor which minimizes the necessity to move a patient to examining equipment.
It is an additional object of the present invention to provide a patient examining room with various items of equipment conveniently located with respect to the patient.
It is a more general object of the present invention to provide accessibility of common equipment to at least two rooms within a building structure while maintaining isolation of each room.
SUMMARY OF THE INVENTION These and additional objects are realized by the present invention wherein at least two patient examining rooms within a medical building structure have adjacent thereto a common equipment core area. Equipment is stored in the common core area. Support and guiding means are provided so that a desired piece of special equipment may be conveyed from the core area into either of the at least two rooms when desired. According to one aspect of the invention, the core area is a separate room adjacent to the two or more rooms and has a separate common wall with each room. The at least two common walls each have coverable openings therein for passage of equipment therethrough from the core area to either of the at least two rooms. Equipment is preferably supported and guided along a predetermined path through each of the openings by some means such as tracks either suspended between the building floor and ceiling or supported directly on the floor. Each common wall opening is provided with a door or some other closure means for separating the two rooms after equipment has been moved from the core area into one of the two rooms. The common equipment core area may be either large enough to contain several pieces of equipment for use in either of the two rooms or be made very small with a provision for moving equipment between the core area and an equipment storage area.
Various pieces of special medical equipment are carried by movable supporting pods. The medical equipment most often used by a doctor using the facility is cility arrangement is a minimization of equipment cost to the doctor since only a single set of equipment is transferred between examining rooms. Medical equipment less often used by the doctor can be carried by other pods that may remain in the core area and accessible to him from either of the at least two examining rooms. Therefore, each examining room may be of reduced size from that which would be required if all necessary equipment were to be installed in .each of the two or more examining rooms.
Such a medical facility may be adapted for use at different times by doctors of different medical specialties who, therefore, each require substantially different medical equipment in their practices. Equipment for each specialist is mounted on a single pod. When there is a change of doctors using the medical facility, the pod for use by the second doctor is substituted for the pod used by the first doctor. All of the medical specialty pods for the doctors sharing the medical facility are stored, according to one aspect of the present invention, in the core area. According to another aspect of the present invention, the various specialty pods are stored in an area removed from the two or more examining rooms, the appropriate pod of pods being moved from storage into the core area each time a doctor takes over the medical facility who requires different examining and treatment equipment from the doctor before him.
The equipment pod in use by a given doctor is transferred between the two examining rooms manually, such as by a nurse or paramedical personnel, or is moved by some automatic means. After an equipment pod has been moved into one of the two examination rooms for use by the doctor, a barrier is provided between the two examining rooms to separate patients therein.
In the embodiments of the present invention wherein the core area is a room adjacent the examining rooms, the closure means over the opening in each of the common wall areas may be a common door which is opened as the equipment is moved between examining rooms. This door may be 'a hinged one or a sliding one. Alternatively, the common wall areas may be provided with a sliding portion having an opening therein which when matched with the opening of a fixed wall portion provides a path for the equipment. Circular examining rooms with circular sliding walls have advantages in the appearance and stability of the sliding walls as well as providing accessibility to and from the rooms. A variation in equipment movement provides for pivoting the equipment within the common core area from facing one examining room to facing the other examining room and then having the common wall area of the examining room.
In the embodiments of the present invention wherein several equipment pods are stored in the core area, there are alternate ways in which access may be provided for each pod into the two or more examining rooms. Separate openings may be provided in the common wall areas between the core room area and the examining rooms so that each equipment pod is transferred between equipment rooms through its own independent covered opening. An alternative is to provide a single opening in each of the common wall areas and mount each of the several distinct equipment pods on a rotating platform which orients a given single specialty equipment pod at a time in a manner that it may be transferred between examining rooms when desired.
For a more detailed disclosure of the invention in its various preferred embodiments and variations, and for further objects and advantages of the present invention, reference should be had to the following description taken in conjunction with the accompanying drawings.
BRIEF DESCRIPTION OF THE DRAWINGS FIG. 1 schematically illustrates one embodiment of the invention wherein two examining rooms are separated by a common core area which stores a plurality of equipment pods movable into either examining room along their own exclusive paths;
FIG. 2 shows a modification of the embodiment of FIG. 1 wherein different types of equipment pods are utilized;
FIGS. 3 and 4 show yet another modification of the embodiment of FIG. 1;
FIG. 5 schematically illustrates another embodiment of the present invention wherein a plurality of equipment pods are carried by a rotatable platform for selectively positioning a desired equipment pod along a common path of podmovement between the two examining rooms;
FIGSJSand 6A show modifications of the embodiment of FIG. 5;
FIG. 7 schematically shows a further embodiment FIG. 11 shows a modification of the invention shown in FIG. 8;
FIGS. 12 and 12A show another modification of the invention illustrated in FIG. 8;
FIG. 13 schematically illustrates another embodiment of the invention; and V FIG. 14 schematically shows still a further embodiment of the present invention utilizing a plurality of pairs of examining rooms arranged in a circular pattern and each having their own common equipment core area.
DESCRIPTION OF THE PREFERRED EMBODIMENT Referring to FIG. I, examining rooms 11 and 13 are substantially mirror images of each other. Doors 15 and I7 allow entry of patients and physicians into the respective examining rooms. Consultation desks l9 and 21 allow the physician to discuss matters with the patient in each of the examining rooms 1 l and 13, respectively. An examining table 23 is provided to be movable along a track 25 within the examining room 11. An examining table 27 is provided to be movable along a track 29 within the examining room 13. Sinks 31 and 33 are provided in each of the examining rooms 11 and 13, respectively. The sinks 31 and 33 are shown attached to walls of the respective examining rooms for convenience but it may be more desirable under certain circumstances to provide the sinks 31 and 33 with flexible plumbing so that they may be moved along with their respective examining tables 23 and 27 for the convenience of the doctor.
Between the examining rooms 11 and 13 is a normally walled-off equipment core area 35 in which specialty equipment pods 37, 39 and 41 are normally stored. Each of these pods contains equipment for a different medical specialty. The equipment is shown to be accessible from the top surface of each of the pods. The pods 37, 39, 41 are movable into either of the examining rooms 11 or 13 on their individual tracks 43, 45, and 47, respectively, which preferably carried by the floor of the structure in which the medical facility 1 is located. The tracks are provided so that the pods may be more easily moved along a predetermined path but such a guiding means is not absolutely necessary. The pods may be moved between the examining rooms by hand, such as by a nurse when the physician is changing rooms to examine a new patient, or the pods may be mechanized to travel under their own power or by some other automatic means from one examining room to the other. It will be understood, of course, that other means than a track can be used to provide a predetermined path for each of the pods, or the track could be hung from the ceiling, or in some other convenient manner.
The examining room 11 is separated from the core area 35 by a wall 51 having therein three doors (shown in FIG. 1 to be hinged) 37', 39 and 41'. The examining room 13 and the common core area 35 are separated by a wall 49 having therein three doors shown in FIG. 1 to be hinged) 37", 39" and 41". The door 39" into the examining room 13 is shown in its open position and the equipment pod 39 is shown on its track 45 to be within the room 13. The examining room 13, therefore, is shown in use. It will be noted that the examining table 27 has been positioned along its track 29 to be very close to the equipment pod 39 for the convenience of the physician. When the physician is finished with the patient in the examining room 13, the pod 39 is moved back through the wall 49 into the core area 35. The door 39" is then closed, providinga barrier between the two examining rooms. The pod 39 is then moved out into the examining room 11 by opening the door 39' of the wall 51. The equipment pod 39 would then be positioned adjacent the examining table 23 and the doctor may enter and perform services with the patient who has been prepared previously by a nurse. While the doctor is working in examining room 11, another patient is being prepared in examining room 13. It will be noted that occupancy of the two examining rooms simultaneously is the reason that the various doors are provided in the way that they are so that at least one of the walls 49 or 51 is not open so that the patients may be kept separated by sight and sound.
FIG. 1 has been described by showing the use of the equipment pod 39 which contains medical equipment for a given medical specialty. After the doctor who practices that specialty has finished his several hours allotted to him in this medical facility, the equipment pod 39 will be replaced into the equipment core area 35 and both doors 39' and 39" will be closed. A doctor practicing a different specialty may then take over the medical facility for examining his patients during the next several hours. Assume, for instance, that this doctor is using the specialty equipment located on the equipment pod 41. Before his arrival or simultaneously therewith, other personnel will move the examining tables 23 and 27 along their respective tracks 25, and 29 to a position opposite the tracks 47 along which the equipment pod 41 will be moved between the examining rooms 11 and 13. The doctor with the new specialty then examines patients by traveling back and forth between the examining rooms 11 and 13 while the equipment pod 41 is moved therebetween through the doors 41' and 41". It will be noted that the medical facility illustrated with respect to FIG. 1 requires very little change when a doctor having one specialty takes over the facility from a doctor having a completely different specialty. It will also be noted that only one set of equipment is necessary for each doctor, although each is still able to have the advantages of two separate examining rooms which increases their efficiency since other personnel may prepare a patient in an examining room other than the one in which he is presently examining a patient. Such a medical facility makes it easier for doctors of different specialties to share the facility. Furthermore, either of the pods 37 and 41 is available for use by a doctor by opening the proper door into the core area while the pod 39 remains in the examining room. This accessibility provides equipment not often required by a given doctor to be available for those infrequent occasions when it is needed.
It will be noted from FIG. 1 that each of the equipment pods 37, 39 and 41, when moved into an examination room, faces each of the examining tables of the examining rooms 11 and 13 in different directions. It may be desirable for certain types of specialty equipment pods that the pods be caused to face the same way into each examining room. A way in which this may be done is shown in FIG. 2. The equipment core area 35 in FIG. 2 normally contains equipment pods 53, 55 and 57. In this embodiment, the pods do not travel back and forth between the examining rooms 11 and 13 along a straight section of track but rather are provided to travel along curved track sections as a means of turning the pod Other means could be used such as straight track sections with a pod supporting wheel movable along the long axis of the pod. For instance, the equipment pod 55 has been moved from a position similar to that of pods 53 and 57 along a track 59 to face into the examining room 13. The equipment pod 55 is shown to have equipment attached to aface 61 thereof and cantilevered therefrom for use by the physician. In this case, the equipment pod 55 need not extend very far into the examining room 13 but only need present therein the face 61 (a vertical surface) so that the doctor using the room may have access thereto. When the doctor moves from the examining room 13 back to the examining I room 11, the equipment is moved along track 59 to its storage position (similar to that shown for pods 53 and 57) and then back out by means of track 63 so that the pod face 61 is then facing into the equipment room 11 in a position 180 displaced from its position shown in FIG. 2. The wall separating the core area 35 from the examining rooms 11 and 13 is shown in FIG. 2 to include three sections of sliding doors as an alternative to the hinged doors shown in FIG. 1, but either of these, and other doors as well, will work satisfactorily so long as there can be maintained at least one wall without an opening between the two examining rooms to separate patients therein. 7
Under certain circumstances, it may be desirable to minimize movement of equipment pods. FIGS. 3 and 4 show a medical facility in another modification of that of FIG. 1. Equipment pods 65, 67 and 69 contain different specialty equipment and are each pivotable about pivots 65', 67' and 69', respectively. One advantage of limiting pod movement to pivoting is that plumbing may be conveniently provided at the pivot, if desired. Such a simple pivoting operation for certain types of specialty equipment pods may not move the pod far enough into each examining room. Therefore, walls 71 and 75, which separate the core area 35 from the examining rooms 11 and 13, are made movable. FIG. 3 shows a situation where none of the equipment pods 65, 67 or 69 are within an examining room. However, the pod 69 in FIG. 3 equipment is oriented about is pivot 69 in a manner to be placed in the examining room 13. When the wall 75 is moved to contract the size of the equipment core area 35, as shown in FIG. 4, a door of the wall 35 isopened to effectively place the pod 69 in the examining room 13. When the physician has completed examining a patient in the room 13 and wishes to return to the room 11 to examine another patient, the wall 75 returns to the position shown in FIG. 3. Each of the pods 65, 67 and 69 rotate 180 about their respective pivots. The wall 71 then moves in a direction toward the'examining room 13 to constrict the area of the equipment core area 35 and thereby place through a door of the wall 71 the equipment pod 69 into the examining room 11. A convenient variation in the use of the pods is to provide the pod 67 with a sink which would be alternated between examining rooms along with one of the pods 65 or 69 which contain med ical equipment.
It will be noted in each of the specific arrangements of FIGS. 1-4 that the examining tables are relocated for each doctor practicing a different specialty in order to be adjacent to an equipment pod with his specialty equipment thereon. In the embodiment of FIGS. and 6, it is unnecessary to move the examining table to a new position for each medical specialist.
Referring to FIG. 5, elements thereof which are counterparts of elements of FIG. 1 are given like reference characters. The examining tables 23 and 27 remain in one place for use by doctors of all specialties while various specialty equipment is moved to the table. Non-movement of the examining tables has the further advantage of constantly positioning the patient near a fixed sink and counter top. The core area 35 of FIG. 5 includes a rotatable platform 77 in the floor of the facility. On the platform are arranged the specialty equipment pods 37, 39 and 41 on platform tracks providing for moving the pods. These tracks are angularly related to one another. The examining room 13 has a track section 79 in its floor and the examining room 11 has a track section 81 in its floor. The rotatable platform 77 is shown in aposition where the equipment pod 39 may be moved along its track on the rotatable platform 77 into either of the examining rooms 11 or 13, through either of the doors 83 or 85, respectively. The doors 83 and 85 are part of walls 87 and 89, respectively, which walls join into a common wall 91 having a door therein allowing the physician to go between the examining rooms 11 and 13. When the doctor does travel between the examining rooms, the equipment pod 39 is also changed from one examining room to the other along its guiding track either manually or by use of automatic motive equipment. It may be noted that the rotatable platform 77 need not necessarily be a part of the floor structure of the medical facility if other types of equipment pods are used. For instance, such a rotatable device could be suspended in an overhead arrangement. It should also be noted that although pod supporting tracks are shown schematically in FIG. 5 and in later Figures as single lines, each track will generally include a pair of parallel rails for better support. It will be noted that after one physician of a given specialty has completed his time of use with the medical facility shown in FIG. 5, a physician having a different specialty may use the facility by having the rotatable platform 77 rotated to place a track carrying the desired specialty equipment pod along a line joining the permanent tracks 79 and 81. He then proceeds to examine patients by going back and forth between the examining rooms 11 and 13 with the new equipment pod moved between the examining rooms along the track. A modification of FIG. 5 for use with the type of equipment pod described with respect to FIG. 2 is to permanently attach such equipment pods to the rotatable platform 77 near the outer circumference thereof. Under such a modification, the platform 77 would be rotated 180 to transfer a given specialty equipment pod from one examining room to facing into the other examining room. I
A modification of the equipment core area 35 of FIG. 5 is shown in FIG. 6 wherein an elliptically shaped track 93 allows the equipment pods 37, 39 and 41 to be transferred therearound. Crossing the elliptical track 93 is another track 95 which joins the examining rooms 11 and 13 in substantially a straight line. The equipment pod 39 is shown in the examining room 13. When the doctor desires to examine a patient in the examining room 11, the equipment pod 39 is transferred manually or by automatic equipment along the track 95 into the examining room 11. When the first doctor is through and a doctor having a different specialty and requiring a different equipment pod begins to use the facility, the equipment pod 39 is transferred to the elliptical track 93 for storage thereon and one of the other pods 37 or 41 is moved onto the track 95 for use by the doctor in each of the examining rooms 11 and 13 alternately. The embodiment of FIG. 6 may additionally be modified as shown in FIG. 6A by eliminating the track 95 and providing bulges on an elliptical track 94 on opposite sides thereof to extend near the rooms 11 and 13. All three pods would then be moved around the track 94 each time a doctor desired to transfer a given pod from near one room to near the other.
Referring to FIG. 7, an embodiment of the invention is shown wherein the examining rooms I1 and 13 take on a circular shape for the reason that access to the core area 35 is provided by sliding circular walls 97 and 99. The movable circular wall 97 may be supported, for instance, by a ball-bearing track which allows it to be moved either manually or with automatic mechanical motive equipment. The movable wall 97 is dimensioned so that it may be moved into a position for its opening 101 either to coincide with an opening 103 of the fixed wall, as shown, or to stop in front of one of the equipment pods 53, 55 or 57. Other types of pods and arrangements as described herein, of course, could be utilized in the core area. The movable circular wall 99 is similar to the circular wall 97 with its opening 105 shown in a position adjacent the equipment pod 61.
The pod 61 has been moved along a circular track 59 to be slightly within the examining room 13 and adjacent to the examining table 27. In this position of the circular sliding wall 99, the main entrance opening 107 is closed off. However, when either of the openings 103 or 107 are closed, the wall 97 or 99, respectively, will be in a position to allow access to or from the examining rooms through openings 109 and 111. When a doctor has completed examining the patient in the examining room 13 of FIG. 7, the equipment pod 61 is withdrawn into the core area 35, the sliding circular wall 99 will move to a position so that its opening 105 aligns with the opening 107. The patient and the doctor can then leave through the opening 107. When doctor enters the examining room 11 through the door 103, the circular wall 97 is rotated so that its opening 103 is adjacent a track 63 to allow the equipment pod 55 to travel along the track 63 into or adjacent to the examining room 11. It will be noted that the moving wall 97 may be rotated to allow the equipment pod 55 to come into the room 11 before the doctor enters, since the door 109 will then be free for his entrance.
When the doctor having a different specialty takes over the medical facility of FIG. 7, the moving circular walls 97 and 99 are then caused to have their openings 101 and 105 stop in front of a different equipment pod, such as either of the equipment pods 53 or 57. This change can involve merely manual stopping of the circular walls 97 and 99 each time the doctor changes the examining room or could be programmed into automatic equipment moving the circular doors and appropriate pod.
The embodiment of FIG. 7 is optionally provided with equipment shelves or cabinets 98 and 100 attached to the moving walls 97 and 99, respectively. These shelves are located so as to always be near the respective openings 101 and 105 of the moving walls 97 and 99 for convenient access by a doctor no matter which of the equipment pods is being used. Manually operated doors 108 and 110 may be provided in the moving walls 97 and 99, respectively, for optional access by a doctor to a pod, such as pod 53, other than the pod (55) primarily in use. Such additional access is provided for a doctor to obtain equipment that he does not use often enough to require placement thereof on his specialty pod such as the pod 55.
The movable wall 97 of FIG. 7 extends along a path 104 from its position shown when moved to a position to provide access to a pod from the room 11. The movable wall 99 extends along a path 106 from its position shown when moved to a position to open the doorway 107. The use of such walls instead of the individual doors described before has the advantages of being more pleasant in appearance, eliminating a swinging door which is space consuming and cumbersome, and automatically assures equipment accessibility and patient privacy. The walls 97 and 99 are preferably made rigid so that their curved shape makes top support of the door unnecessary when a sliding support in the floor is utilized.
The embodiments of the present invention described with respect to FIGS. 1-7 have utilized a core area 35 with all the necessary equipment pods stored therein. Somewhat improved flexibility can be had in a core area of reduced size by other embodiments of the invention to be described wherein specialty equipment pods are movable from a storage area to a core area adjacent to two examining rooms. An example of this aspect of the present invention is illustrated in FIG. 8 wherein a medical facility that is a modification of FIG. 7 is described. Referring to FIG. 8, a triangularly shaped pod 113 is positioned in a core area adjacent the examining rooms 11 and 13 by movement along tracks 115 from a storage are containing several pods having different specialty equipment on them. The examining room 11 is fitted in FIG. 8 with a solid slidable circular wall 123 which is shown in a position to isolate the room 11 from the pod 113 while allowing entrance into the room 11 through the door 103. The examination room 13 includes a-slidable non-flexible wall 125 shown in a position to block off the door opening 107 but to allow access from the room 13 to the pod 113. When the doctor finishes the patient examination in room 13, he proceeds to the examination room 11 after the moveable wall 125 slides into a position to open up the door 107 while blocking off access to the core area occupied by the pod 113. Similarly, the solid door 123 is rotated to block off the door 103 after the doctor has entered the examining room 11 to allow his access to the core area occupied by the pod 113. When a doctor having a different specialty takes over the medical facility, the pod 113 is removed along the tracks 115 to the storage area (not shown) and a different pod having different specialty equipment desired by the second doctor is moved along the tracks 115 from the storage area to the position formally occupied by the pod 113.
Advantages to the configuration of FIG. 8 are that a small core area only is required and that equipment for any specialty is made available to the rooms 11 and 13 at a common location. Equipment on the pod 113 is accessible to a doctor in either examining room without moving the pod out of the core area. If it is desired to move the pod into the examining rooms, the small core area in FIG. 8 has the advantage of shortening the travel distance of the pod.
FIG. 9 shows a medical facility with square rather than round examining rooms 11 and 13. A door 127 in the common wall between the examining rooms 11 and 13 allows the doctor to walk directly between them. The major difference between FIG. 9 and FIG. 8 is that a pod is carried between the core and storage areas by a truck. A truck 129 is shown in FIG. 9 in position in the core area between the examining rooms 11 and 13. The truck 129 has a track 131 thereon for guiding a specialty equipment pod 133 carried thereby off of the truck and into the examining rooms. The examining room 11 has a permanently installed track 135 for receiving the equipment stand 133 into that room. The examining room 13 has a permanently installed track 137 for receiving the equipment stand 133 in that room. When the doctor is through with a patient examination in the examining room 13, he proceeds to the examining room 11 while the equipment pod 133 is moved across the truck 129 on the track 131 and into the examining room 11 on the track 135. This movement may be accomplished mannually or by appropriate automatic electro-magnetic equipment.
The use of trucks as shown in FIG. 9 may be modified a number of ways to provide equipment pod movement between examining rooms according to FIGS. l-7. An equipment truck, such as the truck 129 of FIG. 9, may be modified to contain an equipment pod which is mov'- able thereon in a manner similar to the movement of equipment pods'within'thecore area 35 of any of FIGS.
1-7. Referring to FIG. 10, a platform 139 is rotatable with respect to its base (not shown). The base travels along the track 115. A plurality of equipment pods are mounted on the platform 139 near its outside circumference. Shown in FIG. is an equipment pod 141 in position for use in the examining room 13. An equipment pod 143 is also carried by the rotatable platform 139 for use by a doctor having a different specialty or may be used to carry equipment desirable but not regularly used by the doctor practicing a specialty for which the equipment pod 141 is primarily designed. As the doctor moves between examining rooms, the platform 139 is rotated so that the equipment pod 141 alternately presents its equipment face between the examining rooms. When a doctor desires to use the medical facility to practice a medical specialty for which neither of the pods 141 or 143 is acceptable, the truck 138 is removed to a storage area along the tracks 115 and a new truck moved into position in the core area. It will be noted that the rotatable platform-of FIG. 10 is similar to that described with respect to FIG. 5. Furthermore, the platform 139 could be modified to have tracks thereon corresponding to the structure of the platform 77 of FIG. 5.
To further show the adaptation of the core area ideas explained with respect to FIGS. 1-7, FIGS. 11 and 12 show modifications of the concept shown in FIG. 8 wherein pods are removeably inserted in a core area directly without the aid of supporting trucks. An equipment pod 147 moves into a core area 145 from a storage area (not shown) along tracks 148. The technique for moving the pod 147 between examining rooms of FIG. 1 1 may be immediately recognized as basically the same as that described with respect to FIG. 2. When the doctor using the facility changes and the specialty of the second doctor is different, the pod 147 is removed to a storage area on the tracks 148 and a new pod containing different specialty equipment is moved along the tracks 148 from the storage area and positioned in the core area 145 for use by the second doctor.
FIG. 12 shows a variation of FIG. 1 1 according to another adaptation of the core area concepts explained with respect to FIGS. l-7. Two independent pods 159 and 157 have been linked up in a storage area (not shown) and moved along the tracks 115 into the position shown in a core area adjacent the examining rooms 11 and 13. The pod 159 is shown in FIG. 12 not to be in use. The pod 157 is shown in FIG. 12 to be in use in the examining room 13. The method of moving the equipment pod between examining rooms is shown to be by guiding tracks. When the doctor using the specialty equipment pod 157 is through using the facilities and a new doctor begins his patient examinations, the equipment pod 159 may be used by this second doctor who would then move it between the examining rooms through different doors of the wall surrounding the core area than the doors through which the equipment pod 157 is moved between examining rooms. Having two pods available to a doctor of a given specialty has the further advantage that the pod not generally used the examining rooms 200 or 201. Similarly, a core area 205 is provided to be accessible from either of the examining rooms 201 or 202. A core area 206 is accessible from either of the examining rooms 202 or 203. An example of use for the medical facility of FIG. 12A is for one doctor to occupy examining rooms 200 and 201 with his primary examining equipment brought into the core area 204. Another doctor may simultaneously occupy the examining rooms 202 and 203 with his primary equipment brought into the core area 206. Secondary equipment (equipment used only occasionally) for each of the two doctors is contained in the core area 205.
Another use of the continually notched medical facility of FIG. 12A is in a hospital where the rooms 200, 201, 202 and 203 represent patient hospital rooms. Various pieces of equipment can then be continuously made available to each patient room. Such equipment may include the nurses station on a movable platform. Emergency equipment is made a part of the nurses station which may be rapidly moved (tracked) to any of the patient rooms.
An advantage of the medical facility embodiments of FIGS. 8-12 wherein equipment pods are moved into and out of the common core area is that the core area may be made of reduced size compared to that of the embodiments described with respect to FIGS. 1-7. In the embodiments of FIGS. 1-7, a number of pods are permanently located in the core area. To further minimize the size of the core area but without the necessity of moving pods in and out thereof, several specialty pods may be attached to rotatable sections of a common wall as shown in FIG. 13. This forms an exposed core area. A common wall seperates the examining room 11 and 13. Attached as part of the wall 190 are specialty equipment pods 191, 192 and 193. Each pod is pivotable about its respective pivot 19], 102 or 193'. The pods are built into the wall 190 in such a manner that the rooms 11 and 13 remain wholly separated to isolate patients therein. A door is provided in the wall separating'the rooms 11 and 13 for use by the examining doctor. The pod 191 is shown with its equipment 194 facing into examining room 11 while the pods 192 and 193 are shown with their equipment facing into examining room 13. If a doctor is using a facility that requires special equipment 194, he merely rotates the equipment pod 191 when changing examining rooms. The pods 192 and 193 may contain examining equipment for other medical specialties. Although the embodiment of FIG. 13 adds some clutter to the examining rooms 11 and 13, equipment for various specialties remains readily accessible without having to duplicate the equipment for each of the two examining rooms and with a minimum core area size. Furtheris occupied at one time by a separate doctor who may be of the same or different specialty than the other doctors. The pair of examining rooms 165 are shown not to be in use while, the remaining examining rooms are shown to be in use. Typical of the equipment core areas of each pair of examining rooms is the core are 171 into which a track 173 extends from a position adjacent a generally circular truck storage track 175. Access for equipment pods out of the core area 171 may be by any of the techniques described hereinabove. It is shown in FIG. 14 that the core area 171 is designed to receive from a truck such as that shown at 177, a plurality of equipment pods 179, 181, and 183 carried thereby. The pods may be carried directly by the storage track 175 but are preferrably moved therealong on trucks such as truck 177. When the truck 177 is drawn along the track 175 to a position opposite the core area 171, each of the pods 177, 181, and 183 is moved into the core 171 along the track 173, one at a time. The medical facility of FIG. 14 gives great flexibility in possible pod combinations and movement.
Although the preferred embodiments of this invention have been described with respect to the Figures primarily for a medical facility to be used by two or more doctors having different specialties, it will be noted that the facility concepts also have advantages for other types of facility use. For instance, such a facility may be occupied by a sole practitioner. The core area concepts of this invention provide a sole practitioner with easy access to a single set of examining equipment from two examining rooms. The sole practitioner could practice general medicine. Further, a number of doctors practicing the same specialty could use such a facility. One equipment pod would then contain the equipment most often used in the given specialty while other pods could contain equipment most less frequently utilized. The concepts of the present invention also have utility for building structures used for other purposes than a medical facility. It shall be understood, therefore, that the invention is not limited to the specific arrangements shown, and that changes and modifications may be made within the scope of the appended claims.
What is claimed is:
1. A medical facility comprising,
at least two patient examining rooms including walls,
standard medical examining equipment located in each of said at least two patient examining rooms, a common equipment core area room immediately adjacent each of said at least two patient examining rooms, said core area having separate common wall areas with each of said at least two patient examining rooms, each of said common wall areas having an opening adapted for passing equipment therethrough and closure means for closing each of said openings for maintaining patient privacy, each of said openings through said common wall areas providing the only access to said core area room,
special medical examining equipment normally stored in said core area room,
said core area room including core area guide means for transferring said special equipment along a predetermined path within the core area room,
said patient examining rooms having patient ingress and egress openings in said walls other than said common wall areas, and
examining room guide means coupled to said core area guide means for transferring said special equipment along a predetermined path through the openings and outwardly away from said common walls of the examining room whereby a doctor alternately utilizing said at least two patient examining rooms may examine a succession of patients with the same special equipment while walking a minimal distance.
2. A medical facility according to claim 1 wherein said core area guide means and said examining room guide means for transferring said special equipment along said predetermined path includes tracks for supporting the weight of said special equipment and guiding it along a path through the core area between examining rooms.
3. A medical facility according to claim 1 wherein said core area guide means and said examining room guide for transferring said special equipment along said predetermined path includes tracks for supporting the weight of said special equipment and guiding it along said predetermined path, said tracks being oriented in a manner that the same vertical surface of the special equipment is the leading surface faced into each of said at least two examining rooms when moved along said predetermined path. 7
4. A medical facility according to claim 1 wherein said core area guide means for transferring said special equipment along a predetermined path within said core area includes a pivot means stationary with respect to said facility about which said special equipment may rotate to face into either of said at least two patient examining rooms.
5. A medical facility according to claim 4 wherein said pivot means includes a rotating platform within the core area room upon which said special equipment is stored.
6. The medical facility of claim 1 wherein said equipment core area room is adapted to contain a plurality of distinct pieces of said special equipment movable independently of each other on said core area guide means and said examining room guide means through a single opening in each common wall area between each room and said equipment core area room.
7. The medical facility of claim 1 wherein said equipment core area room is adapted to contain a plurality of distinct pieces of said special equipment movable independently of each other, said common wall areas each having one distinct opening for each of said pieces of equipment, and wherein said core area guide means and said examining room guide means for conveying said equipment into each of said examining rooms includes means for limiting travel of each piece of equipment along an exclusive path through its own exclusive opening in each of said common wall areas.
8. The medical facility of claim 1 wherein said at least two examining rOoms are circular in shape with a movable circular wall in the interior of each examining room, each movable circular wall operable to open and close its associated common wall opening between the examining room and the common core area.
9. The medical facility of claim 1 wherein each of said movable circular walls controls an opening in its respective examining room for personnel entrance and exit such that the opening into the core area room in said common wall is opened by the movable wall.
10. The medical facility of claim 1 wherein each movable circular wall has attached thereto supply means in a manner to be adjacent its associated common wall opening between the examining room and the common core area room when said common wall opening is opened by said movable wall.
11. A medical facility, comprising,
at least two patient examining rooms,
a commonrequipment core room area immediately adjacent each of said at least two patient examining rooms, said core area having separate common wall areas with each of said at least two patient examining roomS,
' said core room area adapted to receive one or more of a'plurality of pods that each carry at least some medical equipment not found on the other of said plurality of pods, said core area being adapted to contain two or more equipment pods movable in a closed loop path within said core area and further wherein each of said common wallareas has a single opening therein-for passage of equipment pods from said core room area,
means providing a predetermined path for transferrooms,
a rotatable platform within said core area adapted to carry said two or more equipment pods thereon in order to provide said closed loop path movement of said pods, each of said pods mounted on straight line tracks which extend across said platform, and wherein each of said patient examining rooms includes a single pod carrying and guiding track positioned through a single opening of each of said common wall areas in a manner to form an exten-H s'ion of one of said straight line tracks on said movable platform when the platform is rotated to a particular position, whereby said platform may be retated to place its straight line track carrying a desired equipment pod in a position so that the pod may be transferred between patient examining rooms across said rotatable'platform, and
whereby a doctor may examine patients in both of said at least two examining rooms by transferring therebetween the one of said plurality of pods which contains medical equipment most often utilized by him.