Landmark PICO study tops 1k citations

Monday, December 7, 2020

Celebrate! Kudos to the team, especially this set of Duke GIM authors. This week, according to Google Scholar, their paper about a structured PubMed search strategy has exceeded 1000 citations, an achievement by very very few publications!

Schardt C, Adams MB, Owens T, Keitz S, Fontelo P. Utilization of the PICO framework to improve searching PubMed for clinical questions. BMC Med Inform Decis Mak. 2007 Jun 15;7:16. doi: 10.1186/1472-6947-7-16. PMID: 17573961; PMCID: PMC1904193.

More about the authors

The research team featured Duke EBM experts – Connie Schardt from DUMC Medicine Library, Sheri Keitz formerly in DGIM, now with Lahey Hospital and Medical Center in Massachusetts, and Tom Owens, a faculty member of Duke Medicine and Pediatrics, now President of Duke University Hospital. 

Paul Fontelo is a staff scientist with the National Library of Medicine office of High Performance Computing and Communications and director of the NLM informatics training program. Martha Adams is a DGIM faculty member emerita and was engaged in clinician-administrator roles and mobile technology. Together, Fontelo and Adams, contributed their expertise in medical informatics. 

The study began with Fontelo and Adams as colleagues in their professional informatics society, AMIA, both with a passion for handheld technologies in medicine. Dr. Fontelo already had programmed the PICO software framework for a mobile device. Adams had already designed and launched an online communications platform for antimicrobial stewardship called CustomID.

Measuring PICO utilization

The hypothesis for their study was that the PICO framework could yield more precise search results than a standard web browser search of PubMed. The outcome showed a trend towards precision but the real outcome was the reader's perception that this paper is the de facto definition of a search string following the "patient, intervention, comparison, and outcome (PICO) framework", hence the growth of others referencing this seminal paper. 

Citations for this paper can be seen in high-impact journals, for example: the Journal of Biomedical Informatics, the American Heart Association, the Lancet, several articles from the Journal of Medical Internet Research, and books about systematic reviews, to name a few.

Learn more by reading the paper and checking out the digital interface to search PubMed using PICO