Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

EBM Conference for Child Health: Asking the question

Resources for the monthly Evidence Based Medicine (EBM) Conference in Child Health at the University of Missouri.

About PICO

PICO is a format that helps you to construct an answerable clinical question and devise a strategy for searching for evidence.

The PICO question has 4 parts:

Patient - information about the patient e.g. age, diagnosis, other important criteria

Intervention - treatment, exposure, diagnostic test

Comparison - comparison treatment, exposure, diagnostic test (usually gold standard).

Outcome - what you are trying to measure or see improvement in


PICO Example

Patient - infants with bronchiolitis

Intervention - nebulized hypertonic saline

Comparison - supportive care

Outcome - reduced length of hospital stay


Full PICO question:

In infants with bronchiolitis, does nebulized hypertonic saline reduce length of hospital stay compared to supportive care?

More information about PICO

PICO tips

  • Be as specific as possible when constructing your question.
  • Although many questions are treatment questions, PICO questions can be constructed for diagnosis and other types of questions too.