The NICE glossary provides brief definitions and explanations of terms used on the website. The terms describe how NICE works and how its 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.
For terms used in social care, the Care and Support Jargon Buster from Think Local Act Personal is a useful guide to the most commonly used social care words and phrases, and what they mean.
Study or analysis of the cost of using and distributing health or social care resources.
An economic evaluation is used to assess the cost effectiveness of healthcare interventions (that is, to compare the costs and benefits of a healthcare intervention to assess whether it is worth doing). The aim of an economic evaluation is to help decision makers maximise the level of health benefits relative to the resources available. It should be used to inform and support the decision-making process; it is not supposed to replace the judgement of healthcare professionals.
There are several types of economic evaluation: cost-benefit analysis, cost-consequence analysis, cost-effectiveness analysis, cost-minimisation analysis and cost-utility analysis. They use similar methods to define and evaluate costs, but differ in the way they estimate the benefits of a particular drug, programme or intervention.
A way to estimate the costs and effects of an intervention over periods of time on patient groups not covered in a clinical trial or other research. An economic model is a mathematical structure that typically depicts a patient pathway. Modelling is usually done for 1 or more of the following reasons; trials are of insufficient duration; outcomes are reported differently by trials; no trials exist; trials do not contain all relevant comparators; cost and resource information is not included in trials.
A standardised 5-dimensional instrument used to measure health outcomes. It is completed by the person having a treatment themselves and is quick to use.
An independent committee that develops NICE’s guidance on highly specialised technologies. It is made up of healthcare professionals and NHS managers, researchers, patient and carer organisations, patients or their carers, people who work for drug companies and medical equipment manufacturers.
The evaluation committee’s draft guidance on using a highly specialised technology in the NHS in England. The companies and organisations who have been invited as consultees and commentators can comment on this draft guidance.
The proportion of people in a group who have a specific experience (for example, whose symptoms become less severe). This could also be described as a result or event. If 27 out of 100 people have the experience, the event rate is 0.27 or 27%. The terms 'control event rate' and 'experimental event rate' may be used to describe control and experimental groups respectively.
Information on which a decision or guidance is based. Evidence can be obtained from a range of sources, including randomised controlled trials, observational studies and expert opinion (for example, healthcare and other professionals, people using services, family members and carers).
For single technology appraisals and highly specialised technology appraisals - a group of researchers that reviews the company's submission about a drug or other treatment, carries out exploratory analyses using the company's economic model, and produces a report for the appraisal or evaluation committee.
A brief summary of the key findings from a review of evidence.
Quality-assured reviews of the evidence for the clinical effectiveness of medicines within a therapeutic class or indication to provide advice on the relative position of each medicine as a therapeutic option.
A table summarising the results of studies that, taken together, provide the evidence in NICE guidance.
The NICE executive director who advises on a specific piece of guidance. Executive leads are not usually involved on a day-to-day basis in the production of guidance but are called on as needed at different stages of guidance development.
Organisations, including the NHS and academic bodies, that are chosen by public tender and must meet quality control requirements. The centres provide independent assessments of the evidence and produce assessment reports for the committee. The centres have knowledge of and expertise in appropriate methods of evaluation.
An independent academic group that prepares a review of the clinical effectiveness and cost effectiveness of the diagnostic technology or technologies under consideration.