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.

  • National Collaborating Centre

    A group set up by NICE to develop guidelines in a particular area. Technical staff at the NCCs identify and review the evidence for a guideline, and recruit and manage the Guideline Development Group for each guideline. There are 5 NCCs: National Clinical Guideline Centre, NCC for Cancer, NCC for Mental Health, the NICE Collaborating Centre for Social Care, and the NCC for Women's and Children's Health
  • Negative predictive value

    The proportion of people with a negative test result who do not have the disease or characteristic.
  • NICE accreditation

    The NICE accreditation programme assesses the processes organisations use to produce guidance and advice. Organisations that use robust and transparent processes can display an accreditation mark on their guidance, so that health and social care practitioners know it is of high-quality. Accredited guidance may be used to develop NICE quality standards.
  • NICE advice

    NICE products that update healthcare, public health and social care practitioners on new evidence, or help put NICE guidance into context. They do not contain recommendations. Examples of NICE advice include local government briefings, evidence summaries - new medicines, and evidence summaries - unlicensed and off-label medicines.
  • NICE Evidence Services

    Online services that enable access to authoritative clinical and non-clinical evidence and best practice to help people from across the NHS, public health and social care sectors make better decisions. The service also works directly with professionals and practitioners to identify evidence, and to support the uptake and use of evidence to improve practice and care for people using services.
  • NICE Fellows and Scholars Programme

    Fellowships and scholarships are unpaid posts that allow NHS health and social care professionals to work with NICE for their own professional development, and to help improve the quality of care in their local areas. NICE Fellows and Scholars are ambassadors for clinical, social care and public health excellence, and promote the principles and recommendations of NICE guidance in their own specialty or discipline.
    NICE Fellowships are non-renewable 3-year posts for senior health professionals or managers.
    NICE Scholarships typically last for 1 year and are designed to support professional development and contribute towards a formal qualification or training programme.
  • NICE guidance

    Recommendations produced by NICE. There are 5 types of guidance:

    • guidelines covering clinical topics, medicines practice, safe staffing, public health and social care
    • interventional procedures guidance
    • technology appraisals guidance
    • medical technologies guidance
    • diagnostics guidance.

    All guidance developed by independent committees and is consulted on. We also publish a range of supporting documents for each piece of guidance, including practical advice on how to put the guidance into practice, and on its costs, and the evidence it is based on.

    See also NICE advice.

  • NICE Pathways

    An online tool that allows users to see all NICE guidance on a specific topic through interactive diagrams. Each pathway includes all NICE guidance on a topic, as well as quality standards, and accompanying tools produced by NICE to support implementation.
  • Nominal group technique

    A technique used to reach agreement on a particular issue. It uses a variety of postal and direct contact techniques, with individual judgements being aggregated statistically to derive the group judgement
  • Number needed to treat (NNT)

    The average number of patients who need to be treated to get a positive outcome. For example, if the NNT is 4, then 4 patients would have to be treated to ensure 1 of them gets better. The closer the NNT is to one, the better the treatment. For example, if you give a stroke prevention drug to 20 people before 1 stroke is prevented, the number needed to treat is 20.
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