PICO examples

Here are two example clinical scenarios where the most important elements of the scenario have been identified using the PICO framework.

Example 1

Tom is 55 years old and has smoked one pack of cigarettes a day for the last 30 years. He is ready to quit, and is wondering about his options. He has heard of a medication called bupropion, but is also familiar with nicotine replacement therapy options such as patches, lozenges, and gum. Tom wants to know which option will work best to help him quit and abstain from smoking again in the future.

Patient/problem/population: mid-50s male with a 30 pack-year history of smoking
Intervention: bupropion
Comparison intervention: nicotine replacement therapy
Outcome: long-term abstinence from smoking

Example 2

Janet is 42 years old and just had her first mammogram. She does not have a history of breast cancer in her family, and she has heard from her friends that she doesn’t need to have a mammogram every year, only every three years because of new guidelines. She wants to know if she has to come back every year for a mammogram, or if she can make an appointment every three years.

Patient/problem/population: woman in her 40s with no family history of breast cancer
Intervention: mammograms every three years
Comparison: yearly mammograms
Outcome: early detection of breast cancer


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