James Berklan

I’ve learned after many years of covering long-term care that certain things are sure to arouse providers’ anger — over-regulation, under-payment and reckless media accounts among them.

What provokes fear is even easier to identify: Technology.

Whether it has to do with electronic records, monitoring, compliance or some special gadget, most long-term care providers seem to tense up at the mention of technology. As a result, there is usually reluctance and slow adoption of almost any new technology. 

While there may be good reasons for some of that — such as funding difficulties — in the end, it doesn’t do much for the advancement of the profession, or enhancing caregiving.

We are out to change that. Technology is an opportunity to thrive and be celebrated. That’s one of the mantras behind McKnight’s Technology Awards program.

Past winners from the annual contest have come in all shapes and sizes, hugely funded or not, from city, suburban and rural areas. In other words, whether you know it or not, you likely qualify for recognition already. 

You just might not yet know how. This is for you. After all, either you or someone who works with you, needs to overcome a reluctance to deal with “that technology stuff.”

I suggest you find your winning entry by first asking yourself: “What works well at our place?” This should pertain to resident care in some way, of course. Odds are that once you have an answer to that question, all you have to do is describe the success and reveal what manner of technology it is you use to achieve it.

This can be intricate, state-of-the-art, ungodly expensive technology. Or not. We have had homespun, relatively simple but effective winners tickle the judges’ fancy just as often as someone touting an extremely extravagant, “Honey, call-the-networks!” “solution.”

Technology comes in many forms. You just have to conclude what has been working for you.

And if you entered last year and didn’t win, feel free to enter again this year. We give out Gold, Silver and Bronze, and sometimes Honorable Mention awards, in each of five categories. Numerous providers have found success in entering a second time.

After all, the price is right: Free.

We are out to celebrate excellent caregiving. You are already doing it (right?), so why not be recognized for it like you should?

This article originally appeared on McKnight's