John Pugh on Redefining the Rules of Healthcare

In this episode I spoke with John Pugh, the Health and Life Science Team Leader for Accenture. He describes himself as 100% digital innovator and entirely committed to transforming the Life Science and healthcare industry. We talk about redefining the rules of healthcare, and what he and his colleagues are working on in the fields of Artificial Intelligence, Analytics, Blockchain, Innovation and more. We dive into the program he’s heading called the HealthTech Innovation Challenge and how startups and corporations can participate and benefit. We also talk about some of the information and resources that Accenture has produced and made available to businesses and organizations of all sizes.

John started his career in the music business and got involved in the tech scene when he joined a startup in during the first tech boom. He’s here to share his perspective on collaboration, innovation and how creativity can thrive in a constrained and regulated environment. He also shares some insights into the HealthTech Innovation Challenge and how it can help startups and corporates shape the future of health through collaboration.

I do need to apologize a bit for the audio quality in this episode. I always strive to provide good quality recordings, but as in all things, technology occasionally comes up short. John and I covered some great insights on this call, and, because of the time-sensitive nature of the HealthTech Innovation Challenge, we didn’t have time to re-record the entire episode. So, please bare with it on this call, and I’ll continue to work to provide high quality audio on future episodes.

Topics Covered

  • John Pugh’s journey from music, to tech startup, to leading digital programs in pharma, and now leading the HealthTech Challenge.
  • How C-Level Executives can engage with startups to create transformative change
  • How healthcare organizations can take responsibility for shaping the future
  • How the HealthTech Innovation Challenge helps startups engage with large corporates
  • How creativity can thrive when working within constraints
  • How design thinking can be applied to solve grand challenges

Lightning Round Answers

Q: What’s a favorite quote or saying that motivates you?

A: Restriction does create creativity

Q: What advice do you have for other innovators who are working to make a difference in health?

A: Do the right thing. Don’t be afraid to say ‘no’. Have the courage to stand up and take your own route and do the things that you instinctively know are right.

Q: What book do you recommend to listeners and why?

A:Healthcare Disrupted: Next Generation Business Models and Strategies,
by Jeff Elton & Anne O'Riordan

Q: What technology, tool or app would you recommend, and why?

A: Spotify!

Q: If I gave you $5million to invest in healthcare today, where would you invest it?

A: Startup Health’s second fund, and:
Patients Like Me

Q: In appreciation of your time on the show, we make a donation to a charity of your choice. What charity have you selected? 

A: Cornelia de Lange Syndrome Foundation. The CdLS Foundation exists to ensure early and accurate diagnosis of Cornelia de Lange Syndrome, promote research into the causes and manifestations of the syndrome and help people with a diagnosis of CdLS to make informed decisions throughout their lifetime.


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Dan Kendall

Dan Kendall


As an engineer and business leader, I've worked to develop, launch and scale innovative products and solutions that impact health and wellness. As an entrepreneur, I know firsthand what it takes to start a business, build a team, and compete in the global marketplace.

On Digital Health Today, I leverage my experiences to help great leaders and innovators tell their stories and connect to users, investors and other stakeholders.

Connect with me on LinkedIn and Twitter.

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