An Analysis of Public Interest in Elective Neurosurgical Procedures during the COVID-19 Pandemic through Online Search Engine Trends.
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.Using Google Trends (GT), search terms of seven 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 (Feb 18th, 2020-Apr 18th, 2020), intermediate-term (Jan 1st, 2020-May 31st, 2020) and long-term (Jan 2015-Sept 2020). State-level interest during phase I re-opening (Apr 28th, 2020-May 31st, 2020) was also evaluated.In the short-term, RSV of four categories (epilepsy, movement disorder, spine, and tumor) were significantly lower in the post-CMS announcement period. In the intermediate-term, RSV of five categories (miscellaneous, epilepsy, movement disorder, spine, and tumor) were significantly lower in the post-CMS announcement period. In the long-term, RSV 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.With the recommendation for cessation of elective surgeries, patient interest in overall elective neurosurgical procedures have dropped significantly. With gradual reopening, there has been a resurgence in some procedure types. GT has proven to be a useful tracker of patient interest and may be utilized by neurosurgical departments to facilitate outreach strategies.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.wneu.2020.12.143
View details for PubMedID 33412316