The purpose of this report is to examine opportunities for the Aging Network to expand partnerships with health care organizations and other entities through focusing on the value of investing in information technology (IT). These opportunities include connecting to Health Information Exchanges (HIEs) using currently available funding through the Health Information Technology for Economic and Clinical Health Act of 2009 (HITECH). It follows a 2016 report issued by the National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (n4a), which examined the state of IT in Area Agencies on Aging (AAAs) across the country. That report, “Information Technology in Area Agencies on Aging,” identified issues and barriers AAAs face in addressing IT needs: implementation costs, interoperability with health care organizations, data sharing challenges, and identifying flexibly designed systems that are capable of addressing evolving IT needs.
Here, we focus on a federal funding opportunity and the experiences of three AAAs that are actively seeking to build out IT in the context of contracts with an expanding number of health care organizations and payers. As the U.S. health care system shifts to accommodate population management and value-based models of care, the need to link multiple data streams across community-based organizations, medical providers, and individuals is increasingly salient and pressing. Accordingly, the report discusses how and why AAAs may wish to bolster their IT capacity, and provides recommendations for next steps.