Glossary

We have produced a glossary to explain some of the clinical terms and acronyms we frequently use to help people without a clinical background to better understand our work.

You may also want to use the NHS acronym buster and the list of more comprehensive glossaries at Patient.info

You may also like our Medicines support for patients page. 

Adherence - the degree to which a patient correctly follows medical advice on taking prescribed medicines. 

AHSN – Academic Health Science Network

Bariatric - the branch of medicine that deals with the causes, prevention, and treatment of obesity.

BNF – British National Formulary. Pharmaceutical reference book that contains a wide spectrum of information and advice on prescribing and pharmacology, along with specific facts and details about many medicines available on the NHS. 

Biosimilar - a biologic medical product which is copy of an original product that is manufactured by a different company.

COPD - chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.

Concordance - Concordance, is a partnership which prescriber and patient enter into concerning the use of medication.

Deprescribing - the process of tapering, withdrawing, discontinuing or stopping medications to reduce polypharmacy, adverse drug effects and inappropriate or ineffective medication use by re-evaluating the ongoing reasons for, and effectiveness of medication therapy. 

DROP list - DRugs to Review for Optimised Prescribing. List of drugs produced by PrescQIPP for Clinical Commissining Groups to review because there is little evidence of therapeutic benefit compared to cost. DROP list items may also be obtained by patients without prescription.

EI – Early intervention

eMC - electronic Medicines Compendium. The site contains UK approved information sheets for prescription medicines.

ePACT - An application which allows authorised users at Primary Care Organisations (PCOs) / Area Teams / Trusts and National users to electronically access prescription data including costs.

Medicines optimisation - a person‑centred approach to safe and effective medicines use, to ensure people obtain the best possible outcomes from their medicines. By focusing on patients and their experiences, the goal is to help patients to: improve their outcomes; take their medicines correctly; avoid taking unnecessary medicines; reduce wastage of medicines; and improve medicines safety. Ultimately medicines optimisation can help encourage patients to take ownership of their treatment.

Multi-morbidity – when  more chronic medical conditions in one person.

Medicines Use Review (MUR) - A free service for patients in the UK who are prescribed medicines by their doctor on a regular basis. It is an opportunity for patients to discuss their medicines with a pharmacist, to understand how they should be used and why they have been prescribed, as well as solving any problems that patients may have.

New Medicines Service (NMS) - A free service for patients in England who have been prescribed a new medicine for a number of long-term conditions. The conditions are: asthma; chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); type 2 diabetes; high blood pressure and people who have been given a new blood-thinning medicine. Patients have an initial consultation and two follow up appointments with a pharmacist to talk about their new medicine and ensure that there are no problems with taking them. 

Non-adherence – the act of not fulfilling prescriptions by patients. There are two types: intentional (the patient decides not to follow the treatment recommendations) and unintentional (the patient wants to follow the treatment recommendations but has practical problems). 

NSAID - Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs

PAC - Priorities Advisory Committee. It is an East of England-wide organisation to promote collaboration and consistency on priority-setting. It is hosted by PrescQIPP and specially funded by East of England CCGs. 

PbR – Payment by results. PbR is the payment system in England under which commissioners pay healthcare providers for each patient seen or treated, taking into account the complexity of the patient’s healthcare needs.

Patient Participation Groups (PPGs) - represent the views of patients as participants in decision making within the NHS.

PINCER – Tool for pharmacist led intervention - identifies patients on drugs with side effects and safety issues

Polypharmacy - The concurrent use of multiple medications by one individual. Polypharmacy may be appropriate or problematic. 

QIPP - Quality, Innovation, Productivity, Prevention. A large scale programme implemented to transform the NHS through quality care improvement and 20 billion pounds’ worth of savings by 2015. In short, it aims to deliver a better service under a tighter budget.

Specials – Products which are unlicensed and are prescribed for individuals. A pharmaceutical special as defined by law is a medicine made to satisfy an individual patient need. The Medicines Act allows appropriate prescribers to prescribe medicines without a licence providing they are happy to assume full liability for the prescription. Specials do not have a regulated price and so can be extremely expensive.

SPOT – Specials Prescribing Optimisation Tool. The SPOT-List contains the top ten medicines (all formulations and strengths) supplied as specials ranked by total spend nationally. The list details costs of the specials, risk factors and identifies possible licensed alternatives.

Transfer of care - is when a patient moves from one health care setting to another such as from hospital to a care home.