Evidence-based practice uses the PICO model for formulating a searchable question.
PICO is a mnemonic used to describe the four elements of a good clinical foreground question:
P = Population/Problem
How would I describe the problem or a group of patients similar to mine?
I = Intervention
What main intervention, prognostic factor or exposure am I considering?
C = Comparison
Is there an alternative to compare with the intervention?
O = Outcome
What do I hope to accomplish, measure, improve or affect?
Formulating a Clinical Question - an interactive tutorial from Boston University
Forming Focused Questions - practice writing out PICO components and then forming a focused question about these case studies
How to Form an Answerable Clinical Question - this tutorial from Cincinnati Children's walks you through an overview of the PICO method and then offers several case studies for you to determine what is the clinical question, what is the type of clinical question, and that is the best study design to answer this type of question
Seven Steps to the Perfect Pico - a step-by-step guide to formulating an optimal PICO search
Fill in the blanks with information from your clinical scenario:
In_______________, what is the effect of ________________on _______________ compared with _________________?
For ___________ does the use of _________________ reduce the future risk of ____________ compared with ______________?
DIAGNOSIS OR DIAGNOSTIC TEST
Are (Is) ________________ more accurate in diagnosing _______________ compared with ____________?
Does ____________ influence ______________ in patients who have _____________?
Are ______________ who have _______________ at ______________ risk for/of ____________ compared with _____________
How do _______________ diagnosed with _______________ perceive __________________?
Melnyk, B. M., & Fineout-Overholt, E. (2011). Evidence-based practice in nursing & healthcare: A guide to best practice. Philadelphia: Wolters Kluwer/Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.