BACKGROUND: A lack of public awareness of palliative care (PC) has been identified as one of the main barriers to appropriate PC access. Internet search query analysis is a novel methodology, which has been effectively used in surveillance of infectious diseases, and can be used to monitor public awareness of health-related topics.
OBJECTIVES: We aimed to demonstrate the utility of internet search query analysis to evaluate changes in public awareness of PC in the USA between 2005 and 2015.
METHODS: Google Trends provides a referenced score for the popularity of a search term, for defined regions over defined time periods. The popularity of the search term 'palliative care' was measured monthly between 1/1/2005 and 31/12/2015 in the USA and in the UK.
RESULTS: Results were analysed using independent t-tests and joinpoint analysis. The mean monthly popularity of the search term increased between 2008-2009 (p<0.001), 2011-2012 (p<0.001), 2013-2014 (p=0.004) and 2014-2015 (p=0.002) in the USA. Joinpoint analysis was used to evaluate the monthly percentage change (MPC) in the popularity of the search term. In the USA, the MPC increase was 0.6%/month (p<0.05); in the UK the MPC of 0.05% was non-significant.
DISCUSSION: Although internet search query surveillance is a novel methodology, it is freely accessible and has significant potential to monitor health-seeking behaviour among the public. PC is rapidly growing in the USA, and the rapidly increasing public awareness of PC as demonstrated in this study, in comparison with the UK, where PC is relatively well established is encouraging in increasingly ensuring appropriate PC access for all.
BACKGROUND: Although the provision of palliative care (PC) is fundamental to the role of the physician, little research has assessed the competence of trainee and experienced physicians in PC.
AIM: To describe the development of a competence questionnaire and assess the level of competence of medical doctors in Ireland to provide PC to individuals with life-limiting conditions and their families.
DESIGN: A survey-based cohort study was employed using a questionnaire based on the Palliative Care Competence Framework, developed specifically for this study.
SETTING: The sample was accessed via the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland. All specialties in adult medical care and direct patient contact were included.
RESULTS: A pilot study demonstrated comprehensiveness and ensured face validity. In the main study, all subscales showed internal reliability and evidence of a normal distribution. Strong correlation was noted between knowledge and behavior while moderate correlations were noted between attitudes and behavior and attitudes and knowledge, respectively. As expected, palliative-trained participants scored significantly higher in attitudes, behavior, and knowledge.
CONCLUSIONS: The study provides baseline data on the level of competence of PC of doctors working in Ireland. The study also offers a novel assessment tool that has the potential to be used for future research.