Regional differences and seasonal variation of the burden of skin diseases in southern Germany: a retrospective analysis of internet data

Stefanie Ziehfreund, Linda Tizek, Melvin Rüth, Barbara Schuster, Tilo Biedermann, Antonius Schneider, Alexander Zink

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations

Abstract

Background: Skin diseases are associated with a considerable burden for patients and their relatives. Not every affected individual, however, seeks medical health care and their families are often forgotten, which makes it challenging to identify all unmet needs. Objectives: This study aimed to identify regional differences and seasonal variations related to dermatology via an internet search and further investigate whether regional factors influence search behaviour. Materials & Methods: A retrospective longitudinal study using Google Ads Keyword Planner was carried out to identify skin disease-related terms throughout Bavaria, southern Germany, from June 2015 to May 2019. Terms were categorized and assessed for regional and seasonal differences. Results: From 976 human skin-related terms, with a total search volume of 9,928,630 queries, 7,988,220 referred to “human skin disease”, with a higher search volume in rural compared to urban areas (p = 0.012). Search queries for “allergy” and “human skin diseases” displayed significant seasonality (p > 0.001 and p = 0.002, respectively). Conclusion: Future monitoring and assessment of this type of Google data for predefined regional areas could identify specific medical needs and provide timed and target-group-oriented medical care and information. These could be beneficial for affected people, their family members, physicians, and public health officials.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)682-690
Number of pages9
JournalEuropean Journal of Dermatology
Volume32
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 2022
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Google
  • rural
  • seasonal variation
  • skin disease
  • urban
  • web search data

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