Environ Sci Pollut Res Int. 2022 Jun 15. doi: 10.1007/s11356-022-21173-2. Online ahead of print.
There has been a disparity in familiarity regarding the public interest in gastroenterology terminologies during the COVID-19 pandemic. This study aimed to understand the outcomes of the public’s view on gastrointestinal topics and their potential social effects. This study is a comparative analysis of American Google Trends gastrointestinal terminology during the COVID-19 pandemic compared to a similar time frame (March 2018-February 2020) to determine how trends in the patient-seeking behavior of gastrointestinal terminology changed throughout the pandemic. The analysis discovered a substantial decrease in search volumes of gastrointestinal topics, more significantly in the first pandemic months. Later in the pandemic, search volumes trended toward pre-pandemic years in terms of public interest. In the case of gastrointestinal procedures, endoscopy and colonoscopies, they surpassed pre-pandemic interest levels statistically (p-values of 0.01 and 0.002). The public’s decreased interest in gastrointestinal topics at the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic may have adverse effects on the healthcare maintenance of patients who could have had a positive outcome in their gastrointestinal health with proper monitoring. Although gastrointestinal internet searches increased toward pre-pandemic levels as the seasons progressed, further research is needed to determine the social impact of decreased public interest.