With the growth of technology, new forms of medical care are helping people access health resources when they need them most. Divan Medical is a professional health care clinic that utilizes the latest technology to advance access to telemedicine, as well as extend patient care. The clinic provides online consultations for people across the United States in various facets of health care.

Where does Divan Medical get its name?

In both English and French, the word ‘divan’ is used to describe a long, low sofa that often doesn’t have arms or a back and is placed against a wall. However, this wasn’t always the case. The term is thought to have originated in the Persian language during the late 16th century, with the word dīwān‘ meaning a ‘register’ or ‘logbook’. The ruling class in Islamic society used it to describe as a form of pensions list that recorded the spoils of war given to Arab warriors. The term became more generalised to describe a financial institution, and then by the era of the caliphate of Muʿāwiyah (661-680), it was used to refer to a government bureau. Interestingly, in Arabic literature a collection of poetry is also called a ‘dīwān’.

As the years went by, the term continued to change in its definition. Until the 19th century, Iranians would use it to describe the central government, while in India the word ‘divan’ was used to describe a chief finance minister. The word made a transition towards its current English definition when, during the Ottoman Empire, it was broadened to describe the audience chamber of government officials who would often furnish their offices with – yes, you guessed it – mattresses and cushions along the walls. During The East India Company’s period of administration in India, the English trading organization referred to its revenue administration as ‘dewanee’.

The word found its way into the Turkish vernacular and is still used today to describe an administrative unit in rural areas. Throughout the next few centuries, Middle Eastern countries would use a form of the word ‘divan’ to refer to a bench or raised section of floor against an interior wall word, and then in the late 19th century French and Italian adopted a version of the term to describe a low or flat sofa. It’s been a part of the English lexicon for over 100 years, used to describe a comfortable piece of sitting furniture; or, in other words, a couch.

And so, the inspiration behind the name ‘Divan Medical’ is simple: the clinic provides services that people can take advantage of from the comfort of their own couch!

What is telemedicine?

Telemedicine may seem like a 21st century invention, but the first mention of it goes as far back as 1879. An article published in the Lancet spoke about a doctor using the telephone to cut down on unnecessary in-office visits. In 1925, medical professionals could diagnose people by radio, and even began envisioning a time when a video device could be implemented to provide virtual examinations for patients. Home monitoring was further developed by NASA in the years that followed.

These humble beginnings over 100 years ago began to shape the telemedicine industry into what it is today: a technologically driven health service that can be used to consult, diagnose, and monitor patients, all from the comfort of their own homes. Since technology has advanced enormously since the idea was first introduced, telemedicine has become one of the most useful innovations of today’s world.

older woman using mobile health technology
Image by YouVersion on Unsplash: Telehealth allows you to get the health care you need from the comfort of your own home.

What is the purpose of telemedicine?

The main purpose of telemedicine is to grant people access to the health care services they need in a convenient way. For people who live in rural areas or who can’t make their way into clinics, telemedicine offers a way to maintain their health without having to disrupt schedules or figure out how to travel a long distance. Telemedicine is also designed to lower the cost of health care for those who may not have the financial means to pay for certain services.

Telemedicine can also connect individuals with medical professionals who may be out of their geographic reach. Patients receiving virtual health care can avail of services that may not be available to them if telemedicine was not an option.

What are the benefits of telemedicine?

Both medical professionals and patients can benefit greatly from the use of telemedicine. Some benefits for patients include:

  • Lower health care costs
  • Improved access to care
  • Access to preventive care, which could lessen the need for further health care down the line
  • Convenience of not having to travel or wait long to see a doctor
  • Slowing the spread of infection by avoiding being around other people who may be ill

The main benefits that telemedicine provides to medical professionals include:

  • A reduction in overhead expenses because of less in-office time
  • Additional revenue stream provided by further patient reach
  • Reduced exposure to illness and infections due to seeing more patients remotely
  • A higher patient satisfaction rate

These benefits make telemedicine a very attractive option for patients and health care providers alike.

doctor in lab coat using phone for telemedicine
Image by National Cancer Institute on Unsplash: Telemedicine benefits both doctor and patient.

Who does telehealth benefit the most?

While both medical professionals and patients benefit from telemedicine, the patient reaps the most reward from having access to their health care provider virtually. Many patients may forgo health care altogether if seeking it interferes with their lives, causes them to miss work, or requires them to take additional measures (such as childcare or travel) to see their doctors. The barriers involved in traditional forms of medicine are all but eliminated for the patient when they choose to see their health care provider virtually.

Telehealth is greatly improving as technology continues to advance, and it’s paving a clear path to the future of health care. Some anecdotal reports from professionals in the field state that telehealth won’t exist by the year 2050 – simply because by then, it will be referred to as just “health care”. It’s expected that the new wave of virtual doctor access and patient care will take over the traditional form of medicine in many ways. Innovation, after all, is the way of the future, and with telehealth in the mix, the future of medicine has only just begun. 

Featured image by Karolina Grabowska on Pexels