Radiology: hot or not? – A quick analysis on world wide professional visibility from Google Trend Data

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Yes, it is in New Zealand. No, it is not in India.

A recent Google Trend search on the the word “radiology” shed very interesting light on the radiology profession.

A recent Google Trends search for “radiology” shed light on the current state of the industry.

First, a gradual decline of interest in global search interest for the keyword, “radiology,” was succeeded by an uptick in recent months. (Figure 1)

Figure 1. Google Trend on "radiology" - worldwide

Figure 1. Google Trend on “radiology” – worldwide

Figure 2. Worldwide interest in "radiology" based on geography

Figure 2. Worldwide interest in “radiology” based on geography

The U.S. public appears to be most interested in “radiology,” followed closely by New Zealand and Australia. Inexplicably, countries that don’t usually contribute significant search share on Google Trends — e.g. Nepal, Puerto Rico, India, and Sudan — demonstrated higher interest in “radiology” than developed nations like Germany.

(Figure 2)

Additionally, it is well known that medical imaging, or “radiology,” represents the largest slice of total healthcare cost. However, search patterns on Google Trends certainly do not reflect relative %GDP spend on healthcare.   (Figure 3)Screen Shot 2013-10-27 at 9.28.24 PMFigure 3

Looking further back to 2004 reveals a dramatically declining search demand for “radiology” in India, while significant growing interest is evident in Australia and New Zealand. (Figure 4) The United Kingdom and United States showed relative stability-to-mild decline. However, please bear in mind that figures represented in the vertical axis are relative to the total Google search demand over time. Therefore, assuming a rising Google search volume overtime, small changes overtime (e.g. United Kingdom, United States) may not be indicative of an absolute change in search volume. On the other hand, wider swings in countries with  wide access to Google  (e.g. India and Australia) are more meaningful in indicating relative public interest in “radiology”.

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Figure 1. Google Trend on “Radiology” – Analysis based on geography

What happened in these countries that led to these changes? I think Google Keyword search results reveal answers.

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In countries with rapid relative decline (e.g. India), search terms tend to be noncommercial and skew toward academic or organizational interests. However, in countries with rapid increase (e.g. Australia and New Zealand), most search volume is related to specific radiology groups. In the United States, the most popular search terms include both specific radiology groups (namely, “radiology associates” and “university radiology” ) and radiology technologist career development.

While this may be an over-simplification of complex data, several (or a combination of) possible explanations for these Google Trends data include:

1. Radiology groups from New Zealand and Australia might have put in significant digital marketing efforts/budget to increase their online presence.

2. Native increasing Public interest in New Zealand or Australian radiology groups is driving the Google search volume up.

3. There is evidence of increasing digital marketing effort by the U.S. radiology groups based on the “rising” search keywords containing specific radiology group names (e.g. South Jersey Radiology and Advanced Radiology). However, this increase is not as much as New Zealand and Australia. This could reflect U.S. radiology group digital marketing strategy, budget, or  savvy.

4.  Conversely, it may be attributed to the notion that other radiology specialties (e.g. radiology assistant or technologist) are more active online.

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hchen23

Neuroradiologist by trade, enthusiast for big data, digital marketing, 3D printing in healthcare

1 Response

  1. scalf says:

    Really glad I found this great information, thanks

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