Background: More and more often, patients use online resources to increase their knowledge/confidence in conventional medicine. Thus, the evaluation of the internet search trends may offer an insight into patients' perception of the healthcare system during the pandemic, especially for medical specialties with invasive interventions such as pediatric neurosurgery.
Methods: A total of 140 keywords representing a wide range of pediatric neurosurgery related symptoms/signs, diseases, and treatments were defined. Google Trends tool was queried for the predefined keywords within the United States from January 01, 2016, to November 17, 2020. Two periods in 2020, 15 March - 4 July and 5 July - 31 October, were compared with similar periods over the preceding four years (2016-2019). We performed analyses in three sections: symptoms/signs, diseases, and treatments.
Results: Public interest has shifted from regular pediatric neurosurgery related symptoms/signs, diseases, and treatments to the ones related with neurological aspects of COVID-19 both in initial and short-term stages of the pandemic.
Conclusions: Google Trends highlights that the link between neurosurgeon/pediatric patients/caregivers needs to be further empowered by growing educational efforts.