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Rehabilitation Service Line Resources: UNC Hospitals: PICO

This guide focuses on a general set of library resources and services to meet the needs of Rehabilitation Line professionals at UNC Hospitals and points to discipline specific resources in addition.

Created by Health Science Librarians

PICO: What and Why?


PICO clarifies and focuses questions that arise during a patient assessment. It identifies and organizes the key aspects of a complex patient presentation to help you brainstorm keywords for your literature search, refine your search for the best results, and save time. 
  • brainstorming keywords for your research
  • Saves time!
  • Patient, Population, or Problem
  • Intervention, Indicator, Variable of Interest
  • Comparison, Control, or Usual Care
  • Outcome

PICOT:  Some models add Time: the time it takes to demonstrate an outcome (e.g. the time it takes for the intervention to achieve an outcome or how long participants are observed).

  • Time

PICOTT:  Others add Type of Question and Type of Study to the PICO framework to create PICOTT reminds you that different types of study designs are used to answer different types of questions.

  • Type of Question (e.g.,Therapy or Diagnosis)
  • Type of Study (e.g., Systematic Review of RCTs > individual RCTs > cohort studies)

PICO Resources