When you decide to purchase a new car, you first decide what is important to you. If mileage and dependability are the important factors, you will search for data focused more on these factors and less on color options and sound systems.
The same holds true when searching for research evidence to guide your clinical inquiry and professional decisions. Developing a formula for an answerable, researchable question that addresses your need will make the search process much more effective. One such formula is the PICO(T) format.
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? (ie. 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.)
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