PICOT formatted questions yield the best relevant information, and saves an inordinate amount of time. (Fineout-Overholt and Johnston, 2005; Melnyk and Fineout-Overholt, 2000 and 2A). The process for building a well-designed PICOT formatted question includes: P Patient problem or population
I Intervention or issue
When utilizing the P in PICOT, it is helpful to ask yourself a few questions, such as "how would you describe a particular problem?" Or, "What are important characteristics about this patient?" Intervention is for the I in PICOT. It is what you plan to do for the patient. Perhaps it's a specific diagnostic test, or a procedure, or a treatment, maybe a medication. The intervention is highly considered when dealing with specifics for a certain patient population. The comparison is for the C in PICOT. This comparison needs to be specific and limited in order to facilitate an effective search. If there is too much input, an overwhelming amount of research will be returned. Comparisons, for example could be, this as opposed to that. The outcome is the O in the PICOT question. It specifies the result(s) of what you plan to accomplish, or improve. Outcomes may be to relieve or help eliminate specific symptoms to a patient's problem, or help to improve and maintain specific functions. The T in PICOT refers to the time involved relegated to the outcome. For instance, the first three months of a treatment, or how long to observe a specific population for results. Being as specific as one can be in researching PICOT questions, will yield better results and allow you to find the studies that focus on the most current, and valid evidence, without becoming too overwhelmed. PICOT is like a puzzle. By putting together all of the components that focus on a specific patient problem or population, intervention or issue, comparisons, outcomes, and...
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