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.
The proportion of people with a negative test result who do not have the disease or characteristic. It is different from specificity.
The value of the benefit from a test, treatment or procedure, minus its total costs. It can be expressed in health (for example, using quality-adjusted life years [QALYs]) or monetary terms.
The difference between the total expected QALYs and the health expected to be forgone elsewhere (these are the total expected costs divided by the maximum acceptable incremental cost-effectiveness ratio [ICER] value).
The difference between the monetary value of total expected QALYs (expected QALYs multiplied by the maximum acceptable ICER value) and total expected costs.
An analysis that compares 2 or more interventions using a combination of direct evidence (from studies that directly compare the interventions of interest) and indirect evidence (from studies that do not compare the interventions of interest directly).
A programme that 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.
A programme that endorses resources to support our guidance, which are produced by other organisations.
A team of 8 implementation consultants who work with organisations to help to put NICE guidance into practice. Each consultant works with NHS, local authority and other organisations in their area, ensuring regular interaction with NICE stakeholders.
Evidence-based recommendations produced by NICE. There are 6 types of guidance:
All guidance is developed by independent committees and is consulted on. NICE may also publish a range of supporting documents for each piece of guidance, including advice on how to put the guidance into practice, and on its costs, and the evidence it is based on.
See also NICE advice.
Supports and promotes high-quality, safe, cost-effective prescribing and medicines optimisation within local health economies. Among other things, it produces evidence summaries: new medicines, evidence summaries: unlicensed and off-label medicines, evidence summaries: medicines and prescribing briefings, key therapeutic topics and supports the Medicines and Prescribing Associates Programme.
The process by which a notifier (usually the manufacturer of the medical technology) informs NICE about a potential technology for evaluation.
A measure of the chance of experiencing a specified harm in a specified time because of the treatment or other intervention. Ideally, this number should be as large as possible. For example, if the NNH for drug A compared with drug B for major bleeding over 1 year is 50, on average, for every 50 people who take drug A instead of drug B for 1 year, 1 person will have major bleeding who would not have done if all 50 had got drug B. The other 49 people out of the 50 will have or not have major bleeding, just as if they had taken drug B. The NNT is 100 divided by the absolute risk increase (ARI) expressed as a percentage. For example, if the ARI is 0.1%, the NNT is 100/0.1=1000.
The average number of patients who need to receive the treatment or other intervention for one of them to get the positive outcome in the time specified. The closer the NNT is to 1, the more effective the treatment. For example, if the NNT for drug A compared with drug B for pain relief after a tooth extraction is 4, on average, for every 4 people who get drug A instead of drug B, 1 person will have pain relief after tooth extraction who would not have done if all 4 had got drug B. The other 3 people out of the 4 will have or not have pain relief, just as if they had taken drug B. The NNT is 100 divided by the absolute risk reduction (ARR) expressed as a percentage. For example, if the ARR is 5%, the NNT is 100/5=20.