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.
A decision-analytic technique that characterises the prognosis of a group by assigning group members to a fixed number of health states and then modelling transitions among the health states.
Mass-media interventions use a range of methods to communicate a message. This can include local, regional or national television, radio and newspapers, leaflets and booklets, the internet or mobile phones. Internet communication can include real-time streaming of information and podcasts, discussions with experts and use of social networking sites.
All products, except medicines, used in healthcare to diagnose, prevent, monitor or treat illness or disability. For example, a device might be a pacemaker, knee replacement, X-ray machine or blood pressure monitor.
An independent committee with 2 roles: selecting medical technologies for evaluation by other NICE guidance programmes and developing medical technologies guidance itself.
The advisory committee’s provisional recommendations on a medical technology. Stakeholders, health professionals and members of the public can comment on it.
A programme to identify medical technologies that could offer benefits to patient or the NHS. Manufacturers notify NICE about possible topics. The medical technologies advisory committee selects products for evaluation. It may carry out the evaluation itself or refer the topic to be evaluated by another NICE programme - usually technology appraisals, interventional procedures or diagnostics, or sometimes guidelines.
Guidance produced by the medical technologies advisory committee on technologies that it evaluates. Medical technologies may also be evaluated by other NICE programmes, and these usually result in diagnostics guidance or technology appraisal guidance.
The Executive Agency of the Department of Health that is responsible for protecting and promoting public health and patient safety by ensuring that medicines, healthcare products and medical equipment meet appropriate standards of safety, quality, performance and effectiveness, and are used safely.
A group of health professionals supported by NICE for whom influencing medicines and prescribing in the NHS is a key part of their job. They are recruited by the Medicines and Prescribing Programme through a selection and assessment process but are not employed by NICE. They work within their own organisation and their local health economy to: support the adoption of NICE and other high-quality guidance into practice and reduce inappropriate variation in prescribing across localities; highlight issues of medicines safety, risk and never events to improve medicines safety; and support the local managed introduction of new medicines.
Objective information on device and diagnostic technologies to aid local decision-making by clinicians, managers and procurement professionals.
A method often used in systematic reviews to combine results from several studies of the same test, treatment or other intervention to estimate the overall effect of the treatment.
The smallest change in a treatment outcome that people with the condition would identify as important (either beneficial or harmful), and that would lead a person or their clinician to consider a change in treatment.
A study in which people selected to take part come from different locations or populations. For example, from different hospitals or even different countries.
A technology appraisal that assesses several drugs or treatments used for 1 condition, or a single drug or treatment that is used for several conditions. Single technologies can also be appraised using this process if there are issues complicating the appraisal, such as a complex situation around the comparator treatments.