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 NICE staff member who has responsibility for quality assuring the technical aspects of NICE guidance.
TechnologyAt NICE, 'technology' is used to mean a drug or other treatment that is being assessed.
Technology appraisal guidanceNICE 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.
Technology Appraisals Programme
Makes recommendations on the clinical and cost effectiveness of new and existing medicines and treatments within the NHS in England, such as:
- medicinal products
- medical devices
- diagnostic techniques
- surgical procedures
- therapeutic technologies other than medical products
- systems of care
- screening tools.
Some of these technologies will be considered by other programmes within NICE.
Care for people needing complex treatments. People may be referred for tertiary care (for example, a specialist stroke unit) from either primary care or secondary care.
The time period over which the main differences between interventions in effects and the use of resources in health and social care are expected to be experienced, taking into account the limitations of the supporting evidence.
Experts on the guidance topic who join an expert panel to work on that guidance. They may include practitioners, service providers, commissioners and lay members with topic expertise.
The member of staff at NICE who is 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.
A group of NICE guidelines consisting of topic-related content, for example:
- cardiometabolic suite
- women’s health and reproductive suite
- mental health and wellbeing suite
- respiratory suite
- cancer suite.
The process by which people in a study are allocated to a treatment group.
Treatment optionsThe choices of intervention available
Use of 2 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.
See Blinding or masking