Correlation of internet search inquiries, incidence of ophthalmological diseases and corneal, cataract and refractive surgical procedures

Correlation of internet search inquiries, incidence of ophthalmological diseases and corneal, cataract and refractive surgical procedures
Written by MAGASIR

Overall, the results show that the RSV in Germany on Google Trends for cataract surgery, DMEK surgery, and Laser refractive corneal surgery increased over the last years. On the other hand, the RSV for corneal transplantation as a general search term and specifically for LASIK tend to be constant or even decrease in Germany. Moreover, the RSV on Google Trends has shown a low to high statistical correlation with number of procedures performed in Germany over a specific period of time.

The results presented here allow the following conclusions to be drawn. (1) The RSV for certain corneal cataract and reactive surgery procedures correlates both geographically and temporarily with the actual surgeries performed. (2) The correlation is strongly dependent on the search term used the specific surgical procedure.

With this in mind, future studies should investigate which linguistic terms are actually used by patients. In addition, it is still unclear which age group actually uses search engines on the internet to obtain general information about their disease or an upcoming operation. to an even higher correlation between the number of operations performed and the actual search volume and thus increase the discriminatory power. Another important limitation is that different age groups and different end device users use divergent platforms (eg Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram). This could lead to deviations, as different platforms address different target groups. Nevertheless, GoogleTrends is a particularly attractive platform because it addresses a broad spectrum of age groups and the data is easily accessible.

Nevertheless, the use of certain search terms could also vary depending on patient age and generally over time or even geographically. Also, with a decreasing RSV of, for example, refractive surgery procedures, but at the same time a significant increase in the number of surgeries performed, it is noticeable that hypothetically a general acceptance and dissemination of a surgical procedure leads to patients informing themselves less about it on the internet (eg, friend-by-friend dissemination) and subsequently posting their experiences more in social channels however. , access to such data is now severely limited, so unfortunately no statement can be made on this in this study.

Up to now, planning and distribution on a microeconomic level (ie the individual hospital) as well as on a macroeconomic level (ie the entire health care system) are based only on retrospectively collected case numbers and costs of the past. An adaptation of health Strategic questions on the basis of data collected in real time is rare or non-existent so far. However, due to the fast pace of today’s world, which is partly caused by a plurality of disruptive processes as well as increased international mobility, a fast Adaptation to current developments or technologies is essential to achieve an adequate health economic result. In addition, as the SARS-CoV-19 pandemic currently illustrates, it is advantageous to ensure the flexibility of the health care system and to react in a timely manner to national as well as global developments. For such plasticity in the health care system, it is crucial to be able to collect and evaluate structural health data in real time and, moreover, to be a ble to react adequately to them. Due to the decentralized structure of the German health care system, but also due to the orientation on data from previous years, it is very difficult in Germany compared to the United Kingdom, for example, to generate data in real time on the geographic and time-dependent occurrence of diseases, the current number of surgical procedures performed or the demand for certain services in the health care system and to be able to react to these at short notice. A data pool of enormous size is generated in real time every day in the form of search engine queries and social media by millions of people in Germany. Alternatives are “online” large registries fed by large proportions of health care providers such as IRIS in the USA (by AAO) or OREGIS (by German Ophthalmological Society; www.oregis.de) in Germany.

The main limitation in validating the above hypothesis is the general lack of availability of official health data. In several countries where data are available, they usually consist of large time interval data (eg, annual data). Making it difficult to analyze and predict diseases and outbreaks13. A similar limitation exists in our study in terms of official health data which is based on each quarter per year, neither real time data nor monthly based ones. On other hand, despite the fact that the data acquired from google trends ie RSV are not absolute data, which in turn difficult to statistically correlate with real data from official authorities, using pearson’s correlation in our study for the data available was an objective statistical methodology to prove ie H1 or reveal H0 a correlation between RSV and real assume data. We Further correlation designs can be settled with more available data in the future studies.

In addition, as a limitation, it cannot be clearly distinguished whether the search terms were entered by treating physicians or patients. Furthermore, the search terms used could have been linguistically indirectly specified by the patients’ physicians. As the input form of device the smartphone is almost ubiquitously available and always linked to the geographic position of the respective input. In the future, real-time acquired data related to eye diseases, treatments and surgical interventions, could be crucial for the immediate and short-term planning and even The strategic orientation of private and public health practices.

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