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Physician Assistant Systematic Review

PICO - Constructing a Clinical Question

As practitioners of EBM, you will often use the PICO framework to help you formulate a question to facilitate a literature search. This framework helps you articulate the most important aspects of a clinical question that will help you find relevant information that will be most applicable to the patient. 

Patients, Population, or Problem

  • Who are the patients?
  • What is their demographic information? 
  • What is their health concern?

Intervention

  • What are the possible interventions? 
  • What factors could influence the prognosis?
  • What are other potential risk factors?

Comparison - Note that not all questions will have a comparison

  • Is there any comparison that you can make?
  • What is the main alternative method?

Outcome

  • What do you hope to accomplish, measure, achieve or avoid?

 

Information Taken from Evidence-Based Practice Guide at the Medical University of South Carolina.

PICO Format by Question Type

 

Information Taken from Evidence-Based Practice Guide at the Medical University of South Carolina.

Keywords from PICO

PICO Keyword Worksheet

EXAMPLE Topic: For Obese children does the use of community recreation activities compare to educational programs on lifestyle changes reduce the risk of diabetes mellitus?

 

Patient/Population

Intervention/Indicator

Compare/Control

Outcome

keywords

Obese children

Community recreation activities

Educational programs on lifestyle change

Diabetes mellitus

Broader terms/ Topic

Children, Obesity

Play

Education

Glucose Metabolism Disorders

Synonyms

Overweight Children

Afterschool Programs

Healthy living education

Diabetes

Narrower terms

Age range

Basketball

Weight loss education

Type II Diabetes

MeSH Terms

Child

Healthy Lifestyle

Education or Child Health

Diabetes Mellitus

 

 

Your Topic:

 

 

Patient/Population

Intervention/Indicator

Compare/Control

Outcome

Your Keywords

 

 

 

 

 

 

Broader terms/Topic

 

 

 

 

Synonyms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Narrower terms

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

PICO Video

This video from the CEBM demonstrates how to use PICO to formulate a clinical question.