Using Google to Trend Patient Interest in Botulinum Toxin and Hyaluronic Acid Fillers
November 2018 | Volume 17 | Issue 11 | Features | 1245 | Copyright © November 2018
Catherine C. Motosko BS,a,b George A. Zakhem BS,a,b Roger S. Ho MD MPH,b Pierre B. Saadeh MD,a Alexes Hazen MDa
aHansjörg Wyss Department of Plastic Surgery, NYU Langone Health, New York, NY bRonald O. Perelman Department of Dermatology, NYU Langone Health, New York, NY
Our findings validate the importance of Google Search as a resource for patients seeking dermatologic procedures and the utility of Google Trends as a tool for practicing dermatologists. Because of the anonymity of internet search, patients may search questions they are not comfortable asking their physician; therefore, data obtained from Google Trends is theorized to be more accurate than data acquired through survey based research.4 Understanding the content of prospective patient’s searches is important to tailor online material to better address their concerns, fill knowledge gaps, and address misinformation. Official organizations and individual dermatologists should utilize search engine optimization techniques to ensure site recognition by the Google Search algorithm and prevent patient exposure to less reputable resources. Google Trends is used to forecast demand for products outside the medical field, and our data suggests RSV may be used similarly to predict local demand within dermatology. To predict the number of procedures to expect for a coming time interval, an individual practice may use county-level RSV data to estimate the total number of regional procedures for said time interval. Historic data on the percentage of total procedures in the region performed by a practice could then be used to forecast practice-level procedure volumes. Understanding of future demand can be used to facilitate a practice’s inventory management, staffing, and appointments.
The authors have no conflicts of interest to disclose.
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