PICO, an acronym for "patient, intervention, comparison, outcome," is a technique for formulating a question and inputting it into medical databases, such as Medline or CINAHL. It helps you think more clearly and input a better query. Some databases have a PICO interface, such as Medline. Others, like CINAHL, do not.
Below is an explanation of the PICO structure:
|P=Patient or Problem||Consider a description of the patient (age, gender, ethnicity) and/or the condition or disease.|
|I=Intervention||What intervention or treatment is in question? This could be a drug, a test, a procedure, or an exposure.|
|C=Comparative intention||What is the alternative action you are considering? This may be left empty if there is not an alternative under consideration.|
|O=Outcome||This is what you hope to accomplish, improve, or alter.|