The Preterm Clinical Network (PCN) Database: A web-based systematic method of collecting data on the care of women at risk of preterm birth

the UK Preterm Clinical Network, Jenny Carter*, Rachel M. Tribe, Jane Sandall, Andrew H. Shennan, Zarko Alfirevic, Christine Adamson, Joanna Girling, Berrin Tezcan, Phil Bennett, Elizabeth A. Bonney, Nigel Simpson, Angharad G. Care, Manju Chandiramani, Sean Daly, Anna L. David, Catherine P. James, Helen Claire Francis, Ramesh Ganapathy, Natalie GreenwoldNatasha L. Hezelgrave, Catherine Hillman, Fatemeh Hoveyda, Matthew Jolly, Tony Kelly, Mani Malarselvi, Shalini Patni, Bradley N. Manktelow, Tara Selman, L. R. Shankar, Andrew Sharp, Sarah J. Stock, Vasso Terzidou, Graham Tydeman, F. A. Vecsei

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Despite much research effort, there is a paucity of conclusive evidence in the field of preterm birth prediction and prevention. The methods of monitoring and prevention strategies offered to women at risk vary considerably around the UK and depend on local maternity care provision. It is becoming increasingly recognised that this experience and knowledge, if captured on a larger scale, could be a utilized as a valuable source of evidence for others. The UK Preterm Clinical Network (UKPCN) was established with the aim of improving care and outcomes for women at risk of preterm birth through the sharing of a wealth of experience and knowledge, as well as the building of clinical and research collaboration. The design and development of a bespoke internet-based database was fundamental to achieving this aim. Method: Following consultation with UKPCN members and agreement on a minimal dataset, the Preterm Clinical Network (PCN) Database was constructed to collect data from women at risk of preterm birth and their children. Information Governance and research ethics committee approval was given for the storage of historical as well as prospectively collected data. Collaborating centres have instant access to their own records, while use of pooled data is governed by the PCN Database Access Committee. Applications are welcomed from UKPCN members and other established research groups. The results of investigations using the data are expected to provide insights into the effectiveness of current surveillance practices and preterm birth interventions on a national and international scale, as well as the generation of ideas for innovation and research. To date, 31 sites are registered as Data Collection Centres, four of which are outside the UK. Conclusion: This paper outlines the aims of the PCN Database along with the development process undertaken from the initial idea to live launch.

Original languageEnglish
Article number335
JournalBMC Pregnancy and Childbirth
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2018


  • Clinical audit
  • Clinical databases
  • Clinical networks
  • Clinical registries
  • Preterm birth


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