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EBM Resources

Forming Foreground Clinical Questions with PICO

  • One of the fundamental skills required for practicing EBM is the asking of well-built foreground clinical questions. The You can use the PICO model to organize, and focus your clinical question. Dividing the elements into PICO elements helps identify terms to use when you develop your search query.

PICO Defined

  • P = Patient, Problem, Population (How would you describe the group of patients or the problem?)
  • I = Intervention, Prognostic Factor, Exposure (What main intervention are you considering? What do you want to do with this patient?)
  • C = Comparison (What are you hoping to compare with the intervention: another treatment, drug, placebo, a different diagnostic test, etc.?)
  • O = Outcome (What are you trying to accomplish, measure, improve or affect? Outcomes may be disease-oriented or patient-oriented.)
Herbert Wertheim College of Medicine, Medical Library
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