Impact review 2020-21: real world validation

I’ve been impressed with the way the AHSN has joined the dots – working across education, evaluation, health and industry is not easy, but we have much more in common than we first realised.

Andrew Jackson CEO of ProReal

Domiciliary Care Workforce Challenge


available for the adoption of new innovations that could support the 44,000 domiciliary care staff across the South West

In partnership with Health Education England and the South West AHSN, in March we launched a major national call for innovations to support the domiciliary care workforce in our region.

Over the last year, we have worked closely with representatives from across the domiciliary care sector to understand their challenges and where innovations might be able to help tackle these.

Up to £100,000 is available to the successful applicant(s) to run and adoption and spread pilots with social and health care providers in the South West, with the AHSNs providing project management support.

Read more

Our experience with the West of England AHSN gave us first-hand knowledge of their role within the health innovation eco-system, and helped steer our strategy with respect to accelerating the spread of our technology.

Tommy Parker CEO of KiActiv®

Future Challenges


patients and young people had access to innovations through our Future Challenges programme


organisations were involved in project teams in the Future Challenges programme, including innovators, clinicians, commissioners, councils and schools


different stakeholder groups co-designed the MiHUB platform, including innovators, young people, school staff, education specialists, counsellors and the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS)


students accessed the SmartGym CardioWall®️ Resilience programme, including peer support trainers

Our Future Challenges programme is an exciting approach to supporting innovators and local partners to pilot innovations and validate them in a real-world setting. The aim is to generate evidence to support the wider introduction of promising new innovations to address identified health and care challenges.

In the last year, we have run projects in two main challenge areas: ‘Keeping healthy at home’ and ‘Supporting mental health resilience in the young’.

During the pandemic, we were also able to support a third emerging challenge: ‘Keeping active during Covid-19’.

Supporting mental health resilience in the young

We have run two projects to support young people’s mental health resilience: ‘MiHUB’ and ‘SmartGym Gloucestershire’.


MiHUB is an innovative technology-based project that aims to support young people’s wellbeing and resilience.

We have brought together Wiltshire Council and the Bath and North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG with ProReal to explore use of virtual reality technology to supplement current mental health approaches.

Royal Wootton Bassett Academy in Wiltshire is trialling MiHUB with a range of students from years seven, eight and nine.

Students use ProReal’s immersive, avatar-based virtual world platform. This offers them a choice of specific situations or problems they might be finding challenging. They are then guided to build visual representations of how they, and others, see the world. The technology helps them to describe their thoughts and feelings as well as take other perspectives, and this can help with different ‘real world’ decisions and choices.

Read this blog from Andrew Jackson, CEO of ProReal to find out more about their involvement.

The project is currently being independently evaluated and the report will be published shortly.

SmartGym Gloucestershire

This project at Newent Community School and Sixth Form Centre in Gloucestershire is assessing the value of combining physical and cognitive exercises to build young people’s mental resilience.

Rugged Interactive, Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust and the Anna Freud National Centre for Children & Families are working together to evaluate the SmartGym Resilience Programme with a selected cohort of students.

The programme combines physical and cognitive activities, gamification of physical activities (using game elements to solve problems and increase engagement) and a tailored support tool to embed and reinforce users’ personal development.

The cognitive activity elements were created by the Anna Freud National Centre and the gamified physical activities use Rugged Interactive’s CardioWall® technology.

Read this blog co-authored by Harry Stevens (Rugged Interactive) and Brenda McHugh (Anna Freud Centre for Children and Families) for more insights on their involvement.

Evaluation of the project is underway and will be published in the coming weeks.

Keeping healthy at home

We selected KiActiv® Health as a partner for testing approaches to patient self-management and ran two projects: ‘Replenish-ME’ with the Bath Centre for Fatigue Services; and ‘Moving to Better Health’ with Sirona Care and Health.

Read this blog by Tommy Parker, CEO of KiActiv®, on his innovator journey with the West of England AHSN and his involvement in these projects.


The Bath Centre for Fatigue Services (BCFS) use a paper-based activity log to help patients with chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) or myalgic encephalomyelitis (ME) symptoms self-manage their conditions, pace activity and understand their baseline energy levels. BCFS were keen to explore alternative or supplementary approaches to empower patient-led behaviour change.

Through the Replenish-ME project, BCFS introduced use of KiActiv® Health, enabling patients to more objectively track their physical activity levels in the context of their health and capacity. The solution’s behaviour change technology consists of an interactive personalised dashboard that uses data from an accurate activity tracker and dedicated mentor support over a 12-week programme.

We funded 50 licences, facilitated project management and funded an independent evaluation of the service.

While the evaluation report is currently being finalised, early feedback from patients has been positive with 66% reporting an improvement in their overall health.

Moving to better health

This project brought Sirona Care and Health together with KiActiv® Health to support some of Sirona’s patients living with Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) to increase physical activity within their everyday lives.

As a result of Covid, Sirona could no longer offer their usual face-to-face pulmonary rehabilitation course and so was able to offer KiActiv® Health as an alternative option to patients.

During a 12-week programme, participants were supported by phone calls with a trained KiActiv® mentor. The calls helped them build an understanding of the value of their daily activities and the confidence to plan, monitor and improve. At the end of the 12 weeks, participants had continued access to their personal dashboard and activity monitor, helping them continue their self-management and changes to their daily routines.

This project is currently being evaluated and the results will be published in the coming weeks.

Keeping active during Covid-19

Wiltshire Health and Care needed a way to continue to support chronic respiratory patients who could no longer receive face-to-face pulmonary rehabilitation due to Covid-19. They identified a risk that these patients who were shielding at home would become deconditioned, and suffer further deterioration in their long term condition.

Through our Future Challenge work, we were able to match them with KiActiv® Health, enabling patients to access the personalised online intervention, supporting them to increase physical activity within their everyday lives.

We provided 30 licences and project management support, and are evaluating the service.

Feedback from participants indicates they felt supported and 92.3% reported they were likely to continue using KiActiv®. The full evaluation report will be published shortly.

Find out more about all our Future Challenges