Google Trends Data of Radiologists Who Accept Medicare: A Potential Tool for Predicting State Demand

Document Type

Journal Article

Publication Date



Current problems in diagnostic radiology








PURPOSE: To identify and analyze the demand for radiologists who accept Medicare per state from 2004 to 2009, as reflected by volume of Google searches, and to place such demand in context with other available data by state. METHODS: The number of radiologists who accept Medicare by state was divided by each state's population to achieve the radiologist density per 10,000 residents. Relative search volume (RSV) for the term "radiologist" was collected from Google Trends from 2004 to 2009. The Radiologist Demand Index (RDI) for each state was then calculated by dividing each state's RSV by the radiologist density for that state. To standardize values, each state's RDI was divided by the largest RDI to generate the Relative Radiologist Demand Index (RRDI). Utilization of medical imaging per 1000 Medicare beneficiaries in each state, overall health of a population in each state, and percentage of the population enrolled in Medicare in each state were used to compare trends with the RRDI. RESULTS: West Virginia had the greatest curiosity about radiologists who accept Medicare (as represented by proportion of Google searches) (RSV=100), followed by Mississippi (RSV=95), and Arkansas (RSV=87). Oregon demonstrated the lowest level of curiosity about radiologists who accept Medicare, by having the lowest proportion of google searches (RSV=43), followed by Vermont (RSV=49), California (RSV=50), and Colorado (RSV=50). The highest radiologist densities per population were found in Montana, D.C., and Wyoming (3.25, 1.56, 1.11, respectively). The lowest radiologist densities were found in Oklahoma, Texas, and Utah (0.4, 0.4, 0.41, 0.41, respectively). The RRDI was greatest in Louisiana (100), Arkansas (94.8), and Texas (86.3), and smallest in Montana (10.6), D.C. (17.7) and Wyoming (28.4). Positive trends between utilization of medical imaging per 1000 Medicare beneficiaries and state overall health and the RRDI were recognized. No trend between each state's RRDI and percentage of population enrolled in Medicare was noted. CONCLUSION: Imaging studies performed, an indirect measure of demand, showed trends with RRDI. Higher RRDI and imaging per 1000 Medicare beneficiaries trended with lower health scores for a state's general population. RRDI may be a useful tool reflecting each state's demand for radiologist who accepts Medicare.


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