What is PICOT?
To formulate questions in Evidence Based Practice, use the PICOT format. PICO is a mnemonic that helps one remember the key components of a well-focused question.
PICOT stands for:
- Population/ Patient Problem: Who is your patient? (disease or health status, age, race, sex)
- Intervention: What do you plan to do for the patient? (specific tests, therapies, medications)
- Comparison: What is the alternative to your plan? (i.e. No treatment, different type of treatment, etc.)
- Outcome: What outcome do you seek? (less symptoms, no symptoms, full health, etc.)
- Time: What is the time frame? (This element is not always included.)
The chart below gives you an idea of how to format your clinical question:
Oxford University offers help formulating answerable PICO questions as well as some examples.
Your PICOT question will fall under one of these types:
Evidenced Based Medicine Information Literacy Modules
Unit 5: Integrate the Evidence with Clinical Expertise & Patient
Preferences and Values
Unit 6: Evaluate the Outcomes of the Practice Decisions or
Changes based on the Evidence
Unit 7: Disseminate EBP Results
copyright 2014 Napa Valley College Updated August 2014
by Nancy McEnery, Reference Librarian-Instructor