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Evidence Based Clinical Practice: EBCP Basics & PICO

This page provides information on locating and evaluating literature used to support evidence based practice.

Defining Evidence Based Clinical Practice


Evidence-Based Clinical Practice (EBCP): Evidence-based practice is the judicious use of the best research evidence (found in health sciences literature), clinical expertise (what the health care provider knows) and patient values (what the patient wants and believes) to create a plan of action regarding patient care.  Evidence-based practice is an umbrella term that covers evidence-based medicine, evidence-based dentistry, evidence-based public health, evidence-based nursing and etc.

Using PICO to Formulate Clinical Questions

PICO is a mnemonic used to describe the four elements of a good clinical question. It stands for:

- Patient Problem (or Population)
I   - Intervention (or Prognostic Factor or Exposure)
C - Comparison (if there is one)
O - Outcome

For diagnosis questions, PICO can be translated this way: P (patient), I (test), C (gold standard test), and O (presence or absence of condition). 

For prognosis questions, a variation of PICO works: P (patient), F (factors), O (outcome--eg., mortality).

Here are links for more information.

History of EBCP

EBCP Tutorial

Introduction to Evidence-Based Practice 

This tutorial was developed by staff at the Duke University Medical Center Library and the Health Sciences Library at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.