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Evidence Based Practice: Using PICO to break down a question

Click on the tabs in the interactive table below to see how PICO can be used to structure different types of clinical questions.

Therapy question:

Are Cefaly headbands more effective than aspirin in reducing the pain associated with migraines?

Population

The condition is migranes

Intervention

The intervention is Cefaly headband

Comparison

The comparison is aspirin

Outcome

The outcome is reduction of symptoms

 

Diagnosis question:

Is D-dimer testing more accurate than an ultrasound in diagnosing deep vein thrombosis?

Population

The condition is deep vein thrombosis

Intervention

The intervention is D-dimer testing

Comparison

The comparison is ultrasound

Outcome

The outcome is diagnosis


 

Aetiology question:

Are babies who are bottle fed at a higher risk of tooth decay than babies who are breast fed?

Population

The populaton is babies

Intervention

The exposure is bottle feeding

Comparison

The comparator is breast feeding

Outcome

The outcome is tooth decay


 

Prognosis question:

In adults with low back pain, what is the association between individual recovery expectations and disability outcomes?

Population

The populaton is adults with low back pain

Intervention

The prognostic factor is recovery expectations

Comparison

There is no comparison for this clinical question

Outcome

The prognostic indicator is disability outcomes


 

Frequency question:

In elderly patients, does toothbrushing reduce the severity of bad breath?

Population

The populaton is elderly patients

Intervention

The intervention is tooth brushing

Comparison

The comparison is no oral hygiene

Outcome

The outcome is reduced bad breath severity

 

Step 2: use PICO to
structure the question

 

Step 3: study designs