James M. Berklan
James M. Berklan

I’m sorry. That’s all I could think to say. So I said it quietly to myself. 

Here you have been through so much in 2020 — we all have, but providers in particular. And then this. 

It’s a bittersweet sense of disappointment because at its root is plenty of heartening stuff from long-term care providers. The big, the small and the in-between.

In this pandemic year of profound challenges, we discovered innovation and creativity like no other. We at McKnight’s asked for your best and you answered loud and clear. Did you ever.

And that’s the rub: Too many of you were too good when it came to entering the McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards program this year. Entries flowed in at a record pace, and after our independent, nationally respected panel of judges had determined the 12 Gold, 12 Silver and 12 Bronze winners, there were still plenty of deserving entries left over. We’re talking really cool stuff that has enhanced caregiving, outcomes and bottom lines.

And yet not everybody got their day in the sun. This is one contest that truly brings out the best from operators.

So I apologize. I personally read each of the winning entries (there are six categories for skilled nursing and six for senior living), plus at least a couple of dozen more just for fun. Now I know why so many of our judges say they look forward to taking part each year. These are interesting, eye-opening programs to read about. The national public health emergency might have driven a lot of the inventiveness, but not all of it.

From this year’s entries, for example, we learn about better ways to help quarantined residents communicate with loved ones, about enhanced transition programs, about effective new falls reduction efforts and about robots that clean facilities, make deliveries and interact with humans. And much, much more.

As you may have already noticed, this week and next you can read about the winners each morning in the Daily Update and one of its sister newsletters, the McKnight’s Daily Briefing. We started featuring them Tuesday and will continue through next Tuesday. If you’ve missed any, you can always check here and here to catch up. We’ll also feature the winners in the print editions of McKnight’s Long-Term Care News and McKnight’s Senior Living.

Unfortunately, not everybody who deserved it won this year. But there’s good news: If you didn’t win a Gold Award this year, you may try again next year. The entry period will run from May to July 2021. 

So get ready to polish your entry (or entries) and give it another shot — or try for the first time. If you don’t, you’re liable to be sorry. And take it from me, that’s not a great feeling.

Stanley Healthcare is the Platinum sponsor of the 2020 McKnight’s Excellence in Technology Awards. MatrixCare is the Gold sponsor for the Senior Living track.

Follow Executive Editor James M. Berklan @JimBerklan.