Impact review 2022-23: integrating innovation – the art of the possible

Welcome to our impact review for 2022-23

Download the full publication here as a PDF or browse the online contents below.

As the West of England AHSN celebrates its tenth anniversary, we are delighted to bring you our latest impact review. We’ve come a long way together since we were first established by NHS England back in 2013 to speed up the spread and adoption of innovation in health and care.

Natasha Swinscoe, Chief Executive and Steve West, Chair of the West of England AHSN

Throughout the last decade, our vision of creating a dynamic ecosystem for innovation founded on a collective approach to benefiting our local people has remained constant.

In this review we share case studies from the last 12 months, exploring how we collaborate with colleagues from health and care, industry, research and academia, the voluntary and community sector, and with patients and the public, to drive innovation and new approaches at every stage of the pipeline – discover, develop and deploy.

We hope you agree we have much to celebrate in our tenth year. These achievements are credit not only to the AHSN staff team, but also to all those across the West of England health and care innovation community who have seized the opportunity to work with us to achieve our shared ambitions. And so to all of you, we say a heartfelt thank you.

NHS England has recently announced the AHSNs (under the new name of Health Innovation Networks) will be relicensed for a further five years, and so we look forward to continuing this work, and continuing to learn and grow together, in the coming years.

Our year in numbers


innovators were supported by our industry and innovation team this year, receiving a total of 1,075 hours of our support

£10.5 million
leveraged by innovators through grants and private investment with our support

patients have benefitted from FeNO testing to aid asthma diagnosis

£2.5 million
funding awarded to companies by SBRI Healthcare with our support

care staff attended our RESTORE2 training, helping them spot the
signs of deterioration

people attended our online and in-person events and conferences

patients using digital self-care app for people with COPD

jobs created and
jobs safeguarded

innovators have attended our Health Innovation Programme (HIP) since 2015

people are now members of our South West Learning Disabilities Collaborative

reduction in hospital admissions for high impact users through our SHarED programme

communities of practice have been created across England through our national Polypharmacy programme

babies have been cared for using our unique PERIPrem perinatal care bundle to date

of primary care practices in the West are prescribing Inclisiran
to help lower cholesterol

children and young people were supported by our Focus ADHD programme this year


Innovation starts not with solutions, but with questions or challenges. Often the initial role of the West of England AHSN is in helping to define the problem.

Our work programme is designed to respond to the priorities of our local health and care systems for innovation and improvement. We have nurtured active networks and communities of health and care professionals, bringing people together to help them collectively identify and articulate the needs and challenges that would benefit most from new approaches.

Another important role for the AHSN is to develop capability and expertise around the development and adoption of innovation. We support our local health and care community to think and work innovatively and implement new ways of working using design thinking and quality improvement (QI) methods and tools.

Many innovations show early promise, but selecting those that can be applied to genuine needs, and then refining them is the next critical stage. We work with many healthcare innovators at this stage, inspiring and equipping new entrepreneurial talent through our business development support and our online Innovation Exchange.

Read case studies from the Discover stage of our innovation pipeline

The Voices for Change project that I was privileged to be involved in provided a much-needed opportunity to really hear the voices of people who experience bladder and bowel leakage and what it is like to live with this day in, day out. The people involved were incredibly humbling, talking so candidly about the difficulties they face and their desire to see things improve for themselves and the many other people also affected.

Nikki Cotterill BABCON HIT Director, Bristol Health Partners


This phase in the innovation journey is all about bringing together innovators, researchers, health and care providers, patients and service users and other stakeholders to experiment, prototype, test and make a business case for new solutions and ways of working.

We work with innovators to refine their ideas and develop them into viable business propositions that could have a real impact on health outcomes.

And we work with service providers to identify promising innovations and evaluate these in real world settings, considering the cost benefits and building an evidence base for wider spread and adoption.

This is what innovation is all about: collaborating with others on shared goals, finding and nurturing ideas with real potential, exploring how they can be implemented and demonstrating they offer benefits.

Read case studies from the Develop stage of our innovation pipeline

The West of England AHSN has played a fundamental role in our innovation journey, which started out on its Health Innovation Programme in November 2020. This experience was crucial for the development of our business and the design of our clinical trial. It provided the time and expert feedback to work through the different value propositions for all stakeholders in the NHS and beyond. This has been critical in bringing together our partners for the clinical trial, raising investment, and developing our product for the trial.

Joshua Steer Founder of Radii Devices


As innovations develop into real world solutions and services, the role of the West of England AHSN shifts to identifying and supporting those with the greatest potential to improve health and care across our region.

Through our ‘evidence into practice’ approach, we select innovations with a proven clinical evidence base to spread more widely across our local systems. Our role is that of a facilitator or guide, encouraging adoption and spread, using quality improvement approaches to continue testing, learning, adapting and refining.

Adoption of innovation is rarely a straight road. Even with credible evaluation and strong clinical evidence, it is not always simple to implement a new solution or service. We work closely with healthcare providers to help them adapt their care pathways and practices to adopt innovative medical devices, diagnostics and technologies.

Read case studies from the Deploy stage of our innovation pipeline

Having previously offered FeNO testing following referral and seen the improvements in accurate diagnosis, patient education and confidence in self-management, we are now able to offer the test without the delays associated with referral, close to the patient in their GP practice with competent healthcare professionals in a way that is sustainable in the longer term.

Carol Stonham Senior Nurse Practitioner – Respiratory, Gloucestershire Integrated Care Board