Online search trends influencing anticoagulation in patients with COVID-19: observational study
Background: Early evidence of COVID-19-associated coagulopathy disseminated rapidly online during the first months of 2020, followed by clinical debate about how best to manage thrombotic risks in these patients. The rapid online spread of case reports was followed by online interim guidelines, discussions, and worldwide online searches for further information. The impact of global online search trends and online discussion on local approaches to coagulopathy in patients with COVID-19 has not been studied.
Objective: The goal of this study was to investigate the relationship between online search trends using Google Trends and the rate of appropriate venous thromboembolism (VTE) prophylaxis and anticoagulation therapy in a cohort of patients with COVID-19 admitted to a tertiary hospital in Ireland.
Methods: A retrospective audit of anticoagulation therapy and VTE prophylaxis among patients with COVID-19 who were admitted to a tertiary hospital was conducted between February 29 and May 31, 2020. Worldwide Google search trends of the term "COVID-19" and anticoagulation synonyms during this time period were determined and correlated against one another using a Spearman correlation. A P value of <.05 was considered significant, and analysis was completed using Prism, version 8 (GraphPad).
Results: A statistically significant Spearman correlation (P<.001, r=0.71) was found between the two data sets, showing an increase in VTE prophylaxis in patients with COVID-19 with increasing online searches worldwide. This represents a proxy for online searches and discussion, dissemination of information, and Google search trends relating to COVID-19 and clotting risk, in particular, which correlated with an increasing trend of providing thromboprophylaxis and anticoagulation therapy to patients with COVID-19 in our tertiary center.
Conclusions: We described a correlation of local change in clinical practice with worldwide online dialogue and digital search trends that influenced individual clinicians, prior to the publication of formal guidelines or a local quality-improvement intervention.
CommentsThe original article is available at https://formative.jmir.org/
Published CitationWorrall AP. et al. Online search trends influencing anticoagulation in patients with COVID-19: observational study. JMIR Form Res. 2021;5(8):e21817
Publication Date31 August 2021
- Beaumont Hospital
- International Health and Tropical Medicine
- Irish Centre for Vascular Biology
- School of Pharmacy and Biomolecular Sciences
- Published Version (Version of Record)