Tuesday, September 6, 2022

The 5 As of Evidence-Based Practice: Ask (Part 2)

Guest post by Gabriel Merckx, MLIS*

Hello again! Back for more on Evidence Based Practice? If you missed the introduction on EBP, you can read it here before going onto this article. This is the 2nd article in the series.

> See the whole 5-part series: The 5As of Evidence-based Practice

The first step of Evidence Based Practice is to ask a question based on your clinical experience. However, it’s not just about forming the question, but forming it in the right way so that it’s easier to acquire literature in the next step. 

So, how do you do that? One method is to formulate the question using PICO.

PICO stands for:

  • P: Patient OR Problem: How would you describe your patient demographically? OR what is the problem you are trying to solve?

  • I: Intervention: What are you doing to the patient or problem?

  • C: Comparison: What other treatment could you try? (The answer can be “nothing” or “not treating it”)

  • O: Outcome: What do you want to happen?

Sometimes, we add a T: 

  • T: Time: In what time period do you want this to happen in?

An example of a question formulated with PICO might be:

  • Does taking rizatriptan (I) lower migraine rates (O) in middle aged women (P) more than over the counter remedies?(C)

Another example:

  • Does aromatherapy (I) calm (O) patients who are agitated (P) [In comparison to not treating it] (C)? 

As you can see, they don’t have to be in the exact order, but they do need to have the PICO components.

Confused by PICO?  Our EBP LibGuide should help clear up the process.

> See the whole 5-part series: The 5As of Evidence-based Practice

Have questions that you need answered sooner? Ask your Ascension Wisconsin Medical Librarians:

* Gabriel Merckx was a practicum student at the Mercy Library in the summer of 2019 when he wrote this series.

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