An Analysis of Public Interest in Elective Neurosurgical Procedures During the COVID-19 Pandemic Through Online Search Engine Trends.

Journal Article (Journal Article)

OBJECTIVE: In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) has recommended the temporary cessation of all elective surgeries. The effects on patients' interest of elective neurosurgical procedures are currently unexplored. METHODS: Using Google Trends, search terms of 7 different neurosurgical procedure categories (trauma, spine, tumor, movement disorder, epilepsy, endovascular, and miscellaneous) were assessed in terms of relative search volume (RSV) between January 2015 and September 2020. Analyses of search terms were performed for over the short term (February 18, 2020, to April 18, 2020), intermediate term (January 1, 2020, to May 31, 2020), and long term (January 2015 to September 2020). State-level interest during phase I reopening (April 28, 2020, to May 31, 2020) was also evaluated. RESULTS: In the short term, RSVs of 4 categories (epilepsy, movement disorder, spine, and tumor) were significantly lower in the post-CMS announcement period. In the intermediate term, RSVs of 5 categories (miscellaneous, epilepsy, movement disorder, spine, and tumor) were significantly lower in the post-CMS announcement period. In the long term, RSVs of nearly all categories (endovascular, epilepsy, miscellaneous, movement disorder, spine, and tumor) were significantly lower in the post-CMS announcement period. Only the movement disorder procedure category had significantly higher RSV in states that reopened early. CONCLUSIONS: With the recommendation for cessation of elective surgeries, patient interests in overall elective neurosurgical procedures have dropped significantly. With gradual reopening, there has been a resurgence in some procedure types. Google Trends has proven to be a useful tracker of patient interest and may be used by neurosurgical departments to facilitate outreach strategies.

Full Text

Duke Authors

Cited Authors

  • Feng, AY; Garcia, CA; Jin, MC; Ho, AL; Li, G; Grant, G; Ratliff, J; Skirboll, SL

Published Date

  • April 2021

Published In

Volume / Issue

  • 148 /

Start / End Page

  • e282 - e293

PubMed ID

  • 33412316

Electronic International Standard Serial Number (EISSN)

  • 1878-8769

Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

  • 10.1016/j.wneu.2020.12.143

Language

  • eng

Conference Location

  • United States