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.

  • Unlicensed medicine

    A medicine that does not have a UK marketing authorisation for any indication.

  • Update for primary care

    A monthly publication for primary care staff, which summarises the latest guidance relevant to primary care. May also contain other NICE news items.

  • Utility

    In health economics, a 'utility' is the measure of the preference or value that an individual or society gives a particular health state. It is generally a number between 0 (representing death) and 1 (perfect health). The most widely used measure of benefit in cost-utility analysis is the quality-adjusted life year, which combines quality of life with length of life. Other measures include disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) and healthy year equivalents (HYEs).