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Abstract

Purpose: The purpose of this study was to analyze the spatio-temporal differences in web search trends for dental degrees (DD), medical degrees (MD), and nursing degrees (ND) across 197 countries from 2010 to 2019. Method: A search string was used to initiate a search query using Google Trends. The parameters used were DD, MD, and ND as search terms; worldwide as Location; 2010 to 2019 as time range; health education & medical training as category; and web search as database. Data were downloaded and analyzed. Results: Via one-way ANOVA and post hoc Dunnett test, the searches for DD were found to be significantly lower in 2011 (3.2 ± 0.3, p = .044), 2012 (2.6 ± 0.2, p < .001), 2013 (2.8 ± 0.3, p = .006), 2014 (3.0 ± 0.3, p = .017), and 2015 (2.9 ± 0.3, p = .010) compared to the year 2010 (4.5 ± 0.6); the searches for MD was significantly higher in 2019 (84.5 ± 2.5, p = .002) compared to the year 2010 (73.0 ± 1.7); and the searches for ND were statistically significantly higher in 2015 (28.9 ± 1.1, p = .024) and 2019 (31.7 ± 1.1, p = .001) compared to the year 2010 (24.5.0 ± 1.2). The search trend for MD increased in 31 countries and decreased in 14 countries while searches for ND increased in 40 countries and decreased in 5 countries as determined by a two-way ANOVA with Holm-Sidak’s multiple comparison test. The 12-month forecast for the search interests of these health professions predicted a rise in the third quarter and an abrupt decline at the end of the year. Conclusions: Geographic and time factors affect the search interests for health professions. In a span of a decade, the disparity of interests shown by the low interests for DD and ND compared to MD in some countries underscores the need to promote these professions to fill the future health care workforce.

Author Bio(s)

Junhel Dalanon, DMD, MAT, EdD, is an Associate Professor in the School of Dentistry at Southwestern University PHINMA. He is also a member of the Department of Stomatognathic Function and Occlusal Reconstruction at Tokushima University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

Yoshizo Matsuka, DDS, PhD, is a Professor in the Department of Stomatognathic Function and Occlusal Reconstruction at Tokushima University Graduate School of Biomedical Sciences.

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