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PICO Questions

What is the Role of the PICO Question in Evidence Based Practice?

The primary purpose of the PICO question is to ask the question, "Should we change our practice to include this new intervention or continue with our current policy/procedure, when caring for this patient population?" The decision to change practice will be based on the measured outcomes of the studies.

The PICO question is a formula that is applied throughout the EBP process.

The PICO Formula

It is not coincidence that this process is called formulating. When you formulate a PICO question, you are creating a formula that does several things:

  • Focus the question by identifying the components in the question
  • Define the concepts that will be used when performing a complex literature search
  • Ascertain which articles in a search retrieval best address the question
  • Determine if studies identified in the search address the original question
  • Ultimately the process will provide the information needed to make a decision whether or not the intervention in the PICO question should be implemented


Informed Decision-making

Word cloud on informed decision making.  Evidence, research, management, decision, health, factors, informed are the largest words.