The NICE Glossary provides brief definitions and explanations of terms used on our site. The terms describe how we work and how our guidance is produced.

Our glossary excludes specific clinical and medical terms. If you cannot find the term you are looking for, please email us so that we can consider adding it to the glossary.

Some definitions and examples are based on those in the 'HTAi consumer and patient glossary', with thanks to Health Technology Assessment International.

  • Manufacturer's submission

    Information supplied by the manufacturer about a drug or other treatment that is being assessed in a technology appraisal. The information includes evidence about how well the treatment works, and its value for money.
  • Marketing authorisation

    An authorisation that covers all the main activities associated with the marketing of a medicinal product. Medicines that meet the standards of safety, quality and efficacy set by the Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency are granted a marketing authorisation (previously a product licence), which is normally necessary before they can be prescribed or sold.
  • Medical devices

    All products, except medicines, used in healthcare to diagnose, prevent, monitor or treat illness or disability. For example, a device might be a pacemaker, knee replacement, X-ray or blood pressure monitor.
  • Medical Technologies Advisory Committee

    An independent committee with 2 roles: selecting medical technologies for evaluation by other NICE guidance programmes and developing medical technologies guidance itself.
  • Medical Technologies Evaluation Programme

    A programme to identify medical technologies that could offer benefits to patient or the NHS. Manufacturers notify NICE about possible topics. The Medical Technologies Advisory Committee selects products for evaluation. It may carry out the evaluation itself or refer the topic to be evaluated by another NICE programme - usually technology appraisals, interventional procedures, diagnostics, and sometimes guidelines.
  • Medical technologies guidance

    Guidance produced by the Medical Technologies Advisory Committee on technologies that it evaluates. Medical technologies may also be evaluated by other NICE programmes, and usually result in diagnostics guidance or technology appraisal guidance.
  • Medicines and Healthcare products Regulatory Agency (MHRA)

    The Executive Agency of the Department of Health that protects and promotes public health and patient safety by ensuring that medicines, healthcare products and medical equipment meet appropriate standards of safety, quality, performance and effectiveness, and are used safely.
  • MeSH (medical subject headings)

    The US National Library of Medicine's controlled vocabulary thesaurus used for indexing articles from biomedical journals for databases such as MEDLINE.
  • Meta-analysis

    The use of statistical techniques in a systematic review to integrate the results of included studies. (Definition from The Cochrane Collaboration website.)

  • Methodological quality

    The extent to which a study's research methods conform to recognised good practice.
  • Methodology

    Describes how research is done, including how information is collected and analysed, and why a particular method has been chosen. The overall approach taken by a research project: for example, the study could be a randomised controlled trial of 200 people over 1 year.
  • Mixed treatment comparison

    An analysis that compares 2 or more interventions using a combination of direct evidence (from trials that directly compare the interventions of interest) and indirect evidence (trials that do not compare the interventions of interest directly).
  • Morbidity rate

    The number of cases of an illness, injury or condition within a given time (usually a year). It can also refer to the percentage of people with a particular illness, injury or condition within a defined population.
  • Mortality rates

    The proportion of a population that dies within a particular period of time. The rate is often given as a certain number per 1000 people.
  • Multi-centre study

    Participants for the study are selected from different locations or populations. For example, from different hospitals or even different countries.
  • Multiple technology appraisal

    A technology appraisal that assesses several drugs or treatments used for 1 condition, or a single drug or treatment that is used for several. Single technologies can also be appraised using this process if there are issues complicating the appraisal, such as a complex situation around the comparator treatments.
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