Even though many clinical treatments are done on a daily basis, often there is no scientific evidence which treatment is the best. In The Netherlands there is large center-to-center variation in the choice of treatment. The only way to know which treatment is the most effective is by doing collaborative multi-center reserach. This way, large trials with a high number of inclusions can be accomplished uniformly. This will eventually lead to evidence based medicine and a higher quality of care.
In 2003, six Dutch perinatological centers participated in an initiative to collaboratively apply for subsidy in the ZonMw programme Doelmatigheid ('effectiveness research'). This has lead to a financial reward for six research projects. The network of researchers and caregivers has expanded since. Now, all ten perinatological centers in The Netherlands are collaborating as well as over 70 medical centers.
The logistics of the consortium studies are taken care of by cluster coordinators and research nurses/midwives. Each cluster of medical centers in The Netherlands is linked to a perinatological center, of which the cluster coordinator is responsible for the logistics, data gathering, and data completion within that cluster.
Reserach nurses/midwives inform all participating professionals about the ongoing studies within their medical center, do the counselling of patients, are the contact persons for the participating patients and professionals, and do the data entry of study data.
The trial bureau of the consortium is responsible for the approval of the studies within the consortium at the medical ethical commissions of the participating hospitals.