Expect “new combinations” of industry actors and technologies to reorganize and re-imagine healthcare, with an eye on both price and investments in customer experience (CX), PwC envisions in their latest report on The New Health Economy in the Age of Disruption.

In this vision, healthcare will be a more flexible marketplace underpinned by data, platforms, and workers. Yes, it’s challenging to get from here-to-there, but PwC explains just how this can happen.

Four archetypes, models, of healthcare deals have begun to emerge in the marketplace, illustrated by the Big Deals and announcements reshaping the industry in the past couple of years:

Vertical integrators, represented by the CVS/Aetna combination (still in FTC review), and Cigna’s acquisition of ExpressScripts, the PBM.

Employer activists, which the Amazon + Berkshire Hathaway + JPMorgan Chase alliance embodies.

Technology invaders, illustrated by Apple’s healthcare efforts in electronic health records and the company’s portfolio of “Kits,” Lyft and Uber’s entries into healthcare transportation, and Google’s growing portfolio of healthcare projects.

Health retailers, such as Walmart’s ongoing growth in health and beauty aisles, clinical care, and potential merge with Humana; grocery stores co-located with pharmacies and clinics; and, re-use of shopping malls as health malls.

What’s driving these transformational alliances is the unsustainable economics of healthcare, especially in the U.S.: a cost-increasing workflow instead of a value-oriented ecosystem. So the vertical integrators look to increase efficiencies in the production of care; the employers seek more value-for-money and ROI on benefit spending through scale; the technology invaders disrupt old modes of production and value-chain disruption; and, the retailers serve up care, services and products in lower-cost, more convenient and consumer-enchanting environments.

It won’t come easy, as Ringo knew, but will require speaking in three languages, Jeff Arnold, Sharecare’s Chairman and CEO, advises in the report: those languages are healthcare, technology (e.g., analytics and artificial intelligence), and media which provides both content and platforms for conversations and support.

This report precedes the PwC 180 Health Forum, held at the Lansdowne Resort on 7-8 May 2018. I will be part of a segment called “Click for Better Health,” brainstorming digital health opportunities and consumer engagement with Jeff and Dr. Joshua Riff, CEO of Onduo.

Health Populi’s Hot Points:  Speaking in tongues will require collaboration across the three dimensions that Jeff identified — healthcare expertise, technology savvy, and media chops. So it’s perfect that Onduo is one of our “three J’s” (represented by ‘J’osh Riff on our “Click for Better Health” session).

Onduo is focused on helping people with diabetes better manage daily living, from food choices and glucose testing to accessing care through coaches. For healthcare and technology “language,” Onduo is backed by Sanofi (the pharma company) and Verily Life Sciences (Google/Alphabet). For media and platforming, the company has developed a virtual care clinic and also collaborates with advocacy organizations in the diabetes community.

In the PwC archetype typology, Onduo is a hybrid of technology invader combined with vertical integrator.

This is where I land on the LEGO analogy. Aside from the fact that, in full transparency, my household and I are confirmed LEGOmaniacs, the New Health Economy requires health industry stakeholders to think design-fully, strategically, and comfortable with many moving parts.

Thus it’s intriguing that LEGO has a division that markets bundles of bricks to organizations who want to use them in developing teams and ideas: LEGO SERIOUS PLAY.

“The LEGO SERIOUS PLAY materials and methodology are effective when there is more than one possible right answer, and when the organization wants to harness all available knowledge in the team in order not only to find the best possible solution but also to get the strongest possible commitment,” the program’s portal explains.

What’s especially instructive for the New Healthcare Economy is this note from LEGO, which says SERIOUS PLAY is useful when, “the subject is complex and multifaceted and there is a need to grasp the bigger picture, find connections and explore options and potential solutions.”

This is sound advice for healthcare stakeholders looking to be relevant and resilient for the long-term. Remember that “LEGO” the brand name grew out of the Danish phrase, “leg godt” which translated as, “play well.”

The company later realized that in Latin, the phrase meant, “I put together.”

PwC sees a new putting-together in healthcare: “Now emerging in place of this siloed industry is a modular ecosystem that operates similarly to industries such as retail, technology and hospitality. This ecosystem, in which consumers can choose care according to their wants, needs and wallets, is far more accessible to newer players, which can tackle discrete parts of the system without having to control, own or understand the whole. This ecosystem is more dynamic, responsive to consumers and fertile for innovation—in other words, an ecosystem ripe for novel deals.”