PICO is a popular framework for formulating clinical questions, especially those relating to therapy (or intervention) effectiveness. It’s used to develop a well-built clinical question to aid in creating a search strategy. It helps identify searchable aspects of a situation in which a patient or population has a certain condition, and the outcome of interest is related to a therapy or intervention.
PICO stands for:
P – Populations/People/Patient/Problem
I – Intervention(s)
C – Comparison (if any)
O – Outcome
Premature infants transition too early from the safety of the womb into the unprotected world of the NICU environment and are unable to handle many of the stimuli required to sustain life. Music therapy is an emerging intervention that may help stabilize the negative physiologic changes during exposure to stressors in the NICU.
For this scenario, we can build our PICO question like this:
P- premature infants in the NICU
I- music therapy
C- no comparison (null comparison)
O- reduction of negative physiological responses (or any positive changes)
Using PICO, we can formulate a focused, answerable question:
“For premature infants in the NICU, does music therapy reduce negative physiological responses?”
A quick way of searching your PICO question in PubMed. Enter the population and intervention, comparison and/or outcome (if appropriate).You can also select the type of publications you are interested in such as RCTs or systematic reviews. May be useful for scoping searches to find key studies and to get an idea of the potential size of the evidence base. Not recommended for fully comprehensive searches for systematic reviews as the searcher has no control over or evidence of the search strategy for reporting purposes.
By Roy E. Brown, Virginia Commonwealth University. This checklist is distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0
International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0) License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc-sa/4.0/)