Here are some PICOT Question Examples to help you understand what a PICOT question is. You can use the acronym PICOT to help you write down a clinical question and look for evidence that will answer it. Using this format can help you find the best evidence in a faster, more efficient way. The PICOT question format is a “recipe” for coming up with questions that can be answered and researched. The rest of the process of finding and evaluating evidence is much easier when you write a good one first, which makes the rest easier.
P: Population/patient: age, gender, ethnicity, people with a certain disorder, and so on
I: Indicator (Variable of Interest): exposure to a disease, risk behavior, or prognostic factor. I
C: Comparison/control : A placebo or going about your normal business, for example. B: Prognostic factors A and B
O: OUTCOME – how likely it is that someone will get sick, how accurate a doctor is, and how often bad things happen.
T: Time – how long it takes for an intervention to work or how long people are watched.
It’s important to note that not every question will have an intervention (like in a meaning question) or a time (when it’s implied in another part of the question).
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Bariatric adolescents who are thinking about or have already had gastric bypass surgery.
Intervention: In this case, the nurse is the main person on the multidisciplinary team for the bariatric adolescent patient’s perioperative care.
Comparison: The nurse is a second member of the multidisciplinary team, but she doesn’t have any special training and is only involved in the care of the bariatric adolescent patient before and after surgery.
Outcome: When the nurse is one of the main members of the multidisciplinary team, the bariatric adolescent patient gets better continuity of care.
Time: During and after the surgery, as well as for the first six weeks after.
PICOT Question: Is there better continuity of care during and after surgery when the nurse is a primary member of the multidisciplinary team? If the nurse is only there to provide preoperative care and doesn’t have any special training, does this make the patient more likely to be well-cared for?
During the perioperative and recovery period, how effective is PCA pain medication (Intervention of interest) when compared to prn IM pain medication? It’s important to note that the group taking the IM pain medicine would be known as the control group. It would be unethical to have a group of people who didn’t get any pain medicine as a control group. Many times, people in the control group get “business as usual!” or the standard of care at the same time as everyone else.
It takes longer for people who have a total hip replacement (P) who get an infection (I) after surgery than for people who don’t get an infection (C) in the first six weeks of recovery (T).
An example of an Etiology PICOT Question:
There are two groups of kids: kids who have obese adoptive parents and kids who don’t have obese adoptive parents. Are kids with obese adoptive parents more likely to be overweight (O) than kids without obese adoptive parents?
Examples of Diagnostic PICOT Question:
A PKU test (I) that is done on two week old infants (P) is more accurate than a PKU test that is done on 24 hour old infants (C). There are two weeks and 24 hours old.
A few examples of prevention PICOT questions:
Microbes (O) are different on natural polished nails and nail beds (I) and artificial nails (C) at the time of surgery (T) when OR nurses do a five minute scrub (P).
What are some examples of Prognosis/Prediction questions?
In urban African Americans with hypertension, does telelmonitoring their blood pressure help them keep their blood pressure in check?
Examples of PPICOT Question
P: How do diabetic pregnant women (P) feel about reporting their blood sugar levels (O) to their health care providers during their pregnancy and six weeks after giving birth (T)?
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