Panasonic Makes Long-Term Play for Senior Care Telehealth

Following meaningful success with a telehealth pilot program this summer, Panasonic is going beyond using the television as a portal for healthcare services with a new tablet-based product launch it will soon make available for senior living communities.

On4Today is the newest telehealth service from the Osaka, Japan-based electronics company’s stateside subsidiary, Panasonic Corporation of North America. Though the product isn’t slated for a formal market release until November, Panasonic had been showcasing the new technology at last week’s LeadingAge Annual Conference & Expo in Nashville, Tenn.

For Panasonic, the anticipated launch of its On4Today product is a step forward in paying the way for cost-effective “care in place” practices, says Bob Dobbins, vice president of New Business Development at Panasonic, who also leads the company’s new Health and Wellness Solutions group.


“The goal is that by providing a high level of social engagement, [senior living providers] can keep residents more effectively engaged in their communities and support overall well-being,” Dobbins told SHN.

Panasonic’s On4Today services are offered via tablet. Using Wi-Fi connectivity, the system allows residents options to manage their daily activities with calendar appointments and reminders, view photos or videos sent by loved ones and participate in video chats and messaging capabilities.

Family members and senior living staff have access to the On4Today portal, so that they may be able to schedule activities for various individuals or and set up community programming around them.


These capabilities aim to enable families to foster better communication with their loved ones not only when it comes to planning visits, but also in monitoring the engagement of their mother or father in the communities where they live.

On4Today follows Panasonic’s recent success in the senior living market when the company collaborated earlier this year with New York-based provider Jewish Home Lifecare on the not-for-profit organization’s Pathways to Health telehealth pilot program.

Jewish Home Lifecare provides geriatric health and rehabilitation services for seniors in a variety of settings, including their own homes, in post-acute care and long-term residences on three campuses in the Bronx, Manhattan and Westchester.

The Pathways to Health program, which ended in July, used Panasonic’s SmartCare Home Gateway telehealth platform to transform patients’ TVs into interactive, remote healthcare management portals that monitored, queried and communicated with patients.

Adoption of the telehealth technology produced significant results for seniors’ well-being, increased levels of medication management and reductions in hospital visits.

Of the 37 patients enrolled in the pilot, 97% reported feeling more confident in managing their conditions, which led to an equally high medication adherence rate. In turn, these behavioral changes resulted in a reduction of more than 40% in emergency room visits and hospital readmissions, according to Jewish Home Lifecare.

Though a separate product in itself, On4Today represents the company’s long-term interest in the telehealth space, Dobbins said.

With On4Today, Panasonic is building a fundamental platform that will allow the company to add a variety of other services over time, which it views as critically important especially in following patients through the continuum of care.

“The goal is to provide service and capabilities to support that,” Dobbins said. “To be successful, you need to integrate with other technologies and information tech systems, whether it’s in an assisted living or a skilled nursing environment.”

Written by Jason Oliva

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