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 Journal Club for Internal Medicine: Asking the question

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 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.


PICO Example

Patient - preoperative patients

Intervention - taking ACE inhibitors

Comparison - continue/discontinue

Outcome - impaired postoperative kidney function

More information about PICO

Suggest a PICO question

Have a clinical PICO question you'd like to see addressed in a future journal club?  Post it here.