One of the basic skills required for practicing EBP is developing a well-built clinical question. Theses questions need to be directly relevant to the patient or problem at hand and phrased in such a way as to facilitate the search for relevant and precise answers. PICO makes this process easier. It is an acronym/mnemonic for the important elements of a well-built clinical question. It also helps formulate the search strategy by identifying the key concepts that need to be in the article that can answer the question.
PICO or PICOTT:
P = PATIENT OR PROBLEM - How would you describe a group of patients similar to yours? What are the most important characteristics of the patient?
I = INTERVENTION, EXPOSURE, PROGNOSTIC FACTOR - What main intervention are you considering? What do you want to do with this patient?
C = COMPARISON - What is the main alternative being considered, if any?
O = OUTCOME - Include patient oriented outcomes (morbidity, mortality, quality of life, etc).
Type of Question - Identify the question scenario:
Type of Study - Identify study design to help answer question:
Primary Question Types
Other Question Types
From: Sackett, DL. Evidence-based medicine: how to practice and teach EBM.