PICO.vet – a veterinary clinical question builder*

PICO.vetpicovethome is a beta release of a focused question builder, patterned after the PICO method of asking an answerable clinical question.  This tool currently queries PubMed at the US National Library of Medicine. Integration with CABI’s VetMed Resource and Google Scholar are on the development roadmap as well.

PICO frames a query of the biomedical literature into a question structure that’s specific to a specific patient concern. PICO stands for Patient/Problem/Population, Intervention, Comparison Intervention and Outcome.

PICO.vet is actually a PICOTT+ tool, adding additional parameters to allow scoping to publications about evidence-based medicine, veterinary patient related attributes (e.g. species, breed, etc.) and broken down to publications by question context (e.g. diagnosis, prognosis, etiology, harm) and by question relevance via recall/precision using sensitive/broad and specific/narrow boundaries.

While PICO tutorials are helpful didactic tools, PICO.vet is intended to help transform clinician behavior by making it easier to perform PICO queries at the point-of-care. It’s designed for mobile environments (e.g. smartphones or tablets) first, but has a fluid design and should work on all browsers and all platforms.

Key goals are:

  • Provide an interactive tool to ask clinical questions at the point-of-care.
  • Help the veterinary community refine and evaluate the efficacy of the historical PICO methodology (applying the practice of critical appraisal inherent to EBM, to proposed EBM related resources themselves).
  • Improve upon pre-built search queries developed mostly for the human literature – especially with the help of the health sciences library community.
  • Evaluate question structures designed for more automated, background and predictive question building in the future, especially within electronic health records and via the Context-Aware Knowledge Retrieval or Infobutton standard.
  • Evaluate the potential for improved UI/UX methods, such as predictive search, pre-population of fields using terms bound to a controlled vocabulary (e.g. disease, active problem, drug or species), measuring precision and recall patterns from various types of queries, and so on.

More information about the project is available on the “About” page (e.g. revisions, new features, etc.) and a “Help/Tutorial” that describes each section and suggestions on how to formulate questions, improve search results, especially around the use of “active problems” as the nidus of a good clinical question.

Questions, bugs, issues and feature requests may be submitted here.

*Disclaimer: The author of PICO.vet is also the author of this article.

 

 

 

About Stuart Turner

Dr. Stuart W. Turner, a former emergency & critical-care veterinarian in Northern California, is a full-time biomedical informaticist (a healthcare information architect). His background includes post-graduate training, teaching and research in biomedical informatics. His work covers various realms such as clinical decision support, translational medicine, public health (biosurveillance) and the semantic interoperability of health information systems from the design of clinical information models and biomedical ontologies. He is past president of the Association of Veterinary Informatics and the Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine Association.

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About Stuart Turner

Dr. Stuart W. Turner, a former emergency & critical-care veterinarian in Northern California, is a full-time biomedical informaticist (a healthcare information architect). His background includes post-graduate training, teaching and research in biomedical informatics. His work covers various realms such as clinical decision support, translational medicine, public health (biosurveillance) and the semantic interoperability of health information systems from the design of clinical information models and biomedical ontologies. He is past president of the Association of Veterinary Informatics and the Evidence-based Veterinary Medicine Association.

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