Back when those feisty colonists successfully broke free from Mother England in the late 18th century, the United State of America was hardly a powerhouse. And the states were not always united, for that matter.

In fact, it wasn’t even a quarter of a century later that the still very vulnerable Americans had to put down conquest-minded Brits again. The royalists pillaged and burned, even desecrating parts of the new nation’s capital.

That skirmish was put down, however, and then the young country got set to growing in earnest. Ravenous appetites for more land were accompanied by equally huge demands for goods and services.

Modernized machinery and factories were there to help make it happen. Although America was still largely an agrarian society even through much of the 20th century, it was innovation and technical know-how that helped catapult the young country ahead, from the early 19th century onward.

Today, long-term care finds itself in much the same place: It has huge needs and technology can be the tool to satisfy its oversized demands.

The good news is, there are plenty of providers and entrepreneurs making progress pushing into new frontiers. From artificial intelligence to robotic assists to advanced software computations and more, progress is being made.

The really good news is that we learn more about these advances every year when we read through entries in the annual McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards competition. Each year, the systems and products get more efficient and clever.

For better and worse. Worse? Yes, that’s the voice of a frustrated McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards judge. Not only has the technology improved, but I can attest to the increasing quality and sophistication of the nominations.

Folks, judging these entries has become more difficult than ever. In some cases tenths of a point separated as many as three entries. Somebody gets to win while others might assume they weren’t good enough. Hogwash.

The competition, which we celebrate Tuesday with a tight online awards ceremony, and then again Oct. 17 witn an in-person bash in Denver, can give out only so many Gold, Silver and Bronze medals. But the winners do not end there, I promise you.

This is my way of apologizing in advance to some excellent entrants who will not go home with the medals they had hoped for. Darn you, readers: You rattle us because while we’re so proud of your achievements, we know we can’t give out awards to all who submitted strong entries.

Judging is so much harder than in past years. Talk about making progress, indeed. Well done!

I encourage everyone to tune in to learn about which of your colleagues had not only the winning programs and products but also some great communicators at their elbow. We’re talking scribes who successfully relayed to the independent judging panel about great, quantifiable successes and why their team deserved to win.

There is no cost to view the awards broadcast — or any of the three free webinars that preface it as part of the accompanying summit that day.

If you want to be a part of this refreshing technical “revolution” that could lead to fewer workforce and workplace worries, plan on tuning in. Cutting-edge webinars will start at 10:30 a.m., noon, and 1:30 p.m. (all Eastern Times).

The awards ceremony will start at 3 p.m. ET. Find out more or register here, and get the scoop about the in-person soiree on Oct. 17 here.

James M. Berklan is McKnight’s Executive Editor.