Early in the year, many people wonder what lies ahead in their lives and their health. Personally, my focus is on making smart, cost-effective decisions that support my family’s health. My passion and my career are all about making sure the right health information gets to the right person at the right time so that people can make the right decisions. Here are four health information technology trends I know I’ll be watching:

1. Protecting electronic health information from the bad guys

We face a challenging situation: health information must be available when a patient or caregiver needs it, yet securely protected from curiosity-seekers or those who mean to do harm. In light of cyberattacks and other compromising situations, the health sector is keenly focused on securing and protecting our health data.

2. More patients benefit from “virtual visits” with their clinicians

Telemedicine allows patients and caregivers to connect via video, phone or email, a wonderful tool for patients who are too far away from those who can provide the best possible care. In 2016, 15 million Americans virtually connected with their doctor, nurse or other caregiver; I wouldn’t be surprised to see that number keep going up.

3. Patient-generated data makes its way into clinicians’ electronic records

Whether it’s home-based blood glucose levels, weight or vital signs, patients are generating more and more data about their own health status. Using smart devices that securely share this information with clinicians, patients can improve the quality of the care they receive, expand their access and reduce the overall cost.

4. Patients benefit from connected, coordinated care

The ability to securely, appropriately and consistently share electronic patient health information with those who need it is known as interoperability. With widespread interoperability, the right information is available to the right people at the right time. That means clinicians and patients can securely send and receive health information across towns, regions, states — ensuring patients, clinicians and loved ones have the information they need to have when they need it the most.