PICO is a model that helps medical practitioners to define a research question. In Embase, PICO stands for:
To find out whether amoxycillin is an effective treatment for ear infection (acute otitis media), by measuring the outcome of whether the patient still has earache (otalgia):
You can choose whether to add synonyms for your terms. This can be particularly useful for drug terms. For the example above, amoxycillin, if you include synonyms you will also search for its full chemical name 6-[[amino(4-hydroxyphenyl)acetyl]amino]-3,3-dimethyl-7-oxo-4-thia-1-azabicyclo[3.2.0]heptane-2-carboxylic acid and trade names such as trimox and moxitab. It's best to read the list of synonyms and decide which to include or exclude: some of them may be unhelpful!
At the top of the screen you can choose from 4 different search strategy options. The options can also be selected from the drop-down arrow next to each search term:
But a disadvantage of the PICO search is that you cannot select more than one of these 4 options. If you use the Emtree search you can apply both /exp and /mj to your term.
You don't have to use the PICO search form for a traditional PICO-type search, it can be used for any search.
The main benefit of this over an Emtree search is that you can enter all of the synonyms for your search term. For example, the term Pharmacy (Shop) was introduced into Emtree in 2019. Searching for this in Emtree will give you about 87,000 results. But it has 13 synonyms which won't be searched in Emtree: apothecary; chemist (shop); chemist shop; chemist's shop; community pharmacy; community pharmacy services; pharmaceutical service; pharmaceutical services; pharmaceutical services, online; pharmacies; pharmacy; retail pharmacy. This PICO search will give about 782,000 results: