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.

  • Technical lead

    The NICE staff member who has responsibility for the technical aspects of a technology appraisal. The technical lead drafts the overview (or premeeting briefing), the draft guidance (appraisals consultation document) and the revised guidance (final appraisal determination).
  • Technology

    At NICE, 'technology' is used to mean a drug or other treatment that is being assessed.
  • Technology appraisal guidance

    NICE technology appraisal guidance makes recommendations on the use of new and existing drugs and treatments in the NHS. If NICE recommends a drug or treatment for a particular condition, the NHS has to make it available for patients with that condition if it is suitable for them. Usually, this has to be done within 3 months of the guidance being issued.
  • Tertiary care

    Care for people requiring complex treatments. People may be referred for tertiary care (for example, a specialist stroke unit) from either primary care or secondary care.
  • Time horizon

    The time span that reflects the period over which the main differences between interventions in health effects and use of healthcare resources are expected to be experienced, taking into account the limitations of supportive evidence.
  • Topic expert group

    A group of health professionals, commissioners and members of the public that develops quality standards. It is provided with sources of evidence accredited by NHS Evidence that it considers when drafting quality standards. It is supported by the Quality Standards Programme Team.
  • Topic lead

    The member of the staff at NICE responsible for a diagnostics guidance topic. The topic lead writes the scope and overview documents and drafts the guidance documents. The topic lead is the primary interface with the external assessment group and primary contact for all technical issues.
  • Treatment allocation

    The process by which study participants are allocated to a treatment group.
  • Treatment options

    The choices of intervention available
  • Triangulations

    Use of 3 or more different research methods in combination; principally used as a check of validity. The more the different methods produce similar results, the more valid the findings.
  • Triple-blind study

    A study in which the statistical analysis is carried out without knowing which treatment patients received, in addition to the patients and investigators/clinicians being unaware which treatment patients were getting.
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