Comparing public interest on stone disease between developed and underdeveloped nations: are search patterns on google trends similar?

The big data provided by Google Trends may reveal patterns in health information-seeking behavior on population from Brazil and United States (US). Our objective was to explore and compare patterns of stone disease online information-seeking behaviors in both nations.

To compare Relative Search Volume (RSV) among different urologic key words we chose "US" and "Brazil" as country and "01/01/2009 - 31/12/2018" as time-range. The final selection included 12 key words in each language. We defined "ureteroscopy" as a reference and compared RSV against it for each term. RSV was adjusted by the reference and normalized in a scale from 0-100. Trend presence was evaluated by Mann Kendall Test and magnitude by Sen's Slope (SS) Estimator.

We found an upward trend (p<0.01) in most of the researched terms in both countries. Higher temporal trends were seen for "Kidney Stone" (SS=0.36), "Kidney Pain" (SS=0.39) and "Tamsulosin" (SS=0.21) in the US. Technical treatment terms had little search volumes and no increasing trend. "Kidney Stent" and "Double J" had a significant increase in search trend over time and had a relevant search volume overall in 2018. In Brazil, "Calculo Renal", "Colica Renal", "Dor no Rim" and "Pedra no Rim" had a significant increase in RSV (p<0.001). More common and popular terms as "Kidney Stent" and "Tamsulosin" were highly correlated with "Kidney Pain" and "Kidney Stone" in both countries.

In the last decade, there was a significant increase in online search for medical information related to stone-disease. Population from both countries tend to look more for generic terms related to symptoms, the disease, medical management and kidney stent, than for technical treatment vocabulary.

International braz j urol : official journal of the Brazilian Society of Urology. 0000 Jan [Epub]

Giovanni S Marchini, Kauy V M Faria, Felippe L, Fábio César Miranda Torricelli, Alexandre Danilovic, Fábio Carvalho Vicentini, Carlos A Batagello, Miguel Srougi, Willaim C Nahas, Eduardo Mazzucchi

Seção de Endourologia, Divisão de Urologia, Hospital das Clínicas, Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, SP, Brasil.