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Respiratory Therapy - RCP


P - Patient Population (age, gender, health, medications, access, conditions)

I - Intervention/Exposure

C - Comparison group

O - Outcome predicted

t - time frame

PICO Breakdown


What are their most important characteristics?

  • primary problem
  • disease state
  • co-existing condition

Describe your patient specifically:

  • Sex
  • Age
  • Ethnicity
  • Socioeconomic factors

ALWAYS include this piece in your search.


What do you want to do for the patient?

  • Order a test
  • Prescribe a drug
  • Order a procedure

Other considerations:

  • Main intervention
  • Prognostic factors
  • Exposures

Almost always include this piece in your search.


What is the alternate intervention, if any?

  • A different drug
  • No medication
  • A Placebo
  • A different test
  • A different procedure

It is less common to include this piece in a search.


What are you hoping to achieve, measure, or change for the patient?

  • Alleviate symptoms
  • Improve test results
  • Reduce adverse events
  • Improve function

Could also be the result NOT desired.

Sometimes include this piece in your search.

Sample PICO Questions

Example Questions

1. In adults with COPD (patient), does pulmonary rehabilitation (intervention) reduce the rate of COPD-related hospitalization (outcome)?

2. Is the use of intravenous magnesium sulfate (intervention) more effective than nebulized magnesium sulfate (comparison) for improving the pulmonary function (outcome) of children with acute asthma (patient)?

3. Does hand washing (intervention) among healthcare workers (population) reduce hospital acquired infections (problem)?

Searching with PICO

Where do I find which type?

Additional Help

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