Below are structured example PICO questions created around the examples from the Identifying clinical questions in practice page for the five different types of clinical question.
Original question: Which diet is best to feed cats with chronic renal disease?
PICO: In [cats with chronic renal disease] does [feeding a renal prescription diet] compared with [not feeding a renal prescription diet] impact on [survival time]?
Original question: Which diagnostic test is most reliable for diagnosing fascioliasis in dairy cattle?
PICO: In [lactating dairy cattle] does [milk ELISA] compared with [serum ELISA] have [a better sensitivity and specificity for diagnosing fascioliasis]?
Original question: Does sex affect survival in flat-coat retrievers with cancer?
PICO: In [flat-coated retrievers with cutaneous lymphoma], does [being a male] compared with [being a female] affect [average life expectancy]?
Original question: What are the risks of general anaesthesia in ferrets?
PICO: In [ferrets], is [general anaesthesia by triple injectable agent] compared with [general anaesthesia by induction and inhalational agent] associated with [an increased risk of death]?
Original question: What is the prevalence of cardiac disorders in Welsh Section A mountain ponies?
PICO: In [horses], does [being a Welsh Section A mountain pony] compared with [being any other breed] increase the [prevalence of cardiac disorders]?
The PICO framework can be applied to most clinical questions, and is easy to use once you have learned its salient principles.
Using a PICO is a way of identifying and working through potential search terms to retrieve the best set of results possible.