PICO is an important framework helping one to generate a clinically-focused patient-care question, and more recently in light of the proliferation systematic and other reviews, the clinically- or population-focused research question. If you have framed the question in advance, fill out the PICO box. If you are having difficulty framing the question, insert the relevant variables in to the box to generate the question.
Example: Recently, attention has been drawn to the poor healthcare services that many veterans receive after serving our country. You know there is a serious gap in the literature on female veterans and are interested in determining if stress negatively impacts cardiovascular disease among female veterans. Goldstein KM, et al. have studied gender and racial differences in CVD among veterans and recommend further study of this issue. You want to look specifically at stress and will measure allostatic load.
Patient, Problem or
|Intervention or Exposure
|Comparison or Control
|Outcome of Interest
|Allostatic Load (Stress)
Clinical question: Among female veterans experiencing allostasis, are they at greater risk for cardiovascular disease?
Goldstein KM, Melnyk SD, Zullig LL, et al. Heart Matters: Gender and Racial Differences Cardiovascular Disease Risk Factor Control Among Veterans. Women's Health Issues. 2014;24(5):477-483.