Patients rarely want to be at a hospital, which goes double for inpatients needing long-term care. A hospital is often associated with pain, discomfort, and confinement, with patients having to stay in bed and do nothing while their body recovers from illness or surgery. For years, the only thing that occupied a patient’s attention was a wall-mounted TV and whatever reading material was available.  

However, modern computers and wireless Internet connectivity have given patients new ways to be entertained and stay informed on their condition. Many of these same technologies also give patients more control over the conditions of their beds and rooms, reducing their reliance on nurses and other hospital staff for comfort. 

What is Bedside Infotainment?

A bedside infotainment terminal combines the functions of a computer, television, phone, and nurse call button into one device. These terminals rely on a touchscreen monitor or computer, which serves as an intuitive control interface for patients to navigate. Because of their low power requirements and easy installation, Power-Over-Ethernet medical computers are a common choice for this role. 

Entertainment Options

Through the touchscreen interface, patients can watch TV, browse the Internet, and even call friends and family from their hospital bed via platforms like Zoom or Discord. This lets patients receive the emotional support of their loved ones without them having to travel to the hospital, go through the process of signing in, and potentially catch an illness while they’re there. 

Information Options

That’s the entertainment half, but what about the information part of “infotainment?” These same devices can also provide patients with information on their condition and treatment. Calendar and schedule apps can also remind patients when to take medication like a personal device. 

Smart-Room Interfaces

Infotainment systems also pair well with smart-room technologies. Rather than getting up and risking injury or calling a provider, an inpatient can use the infotainment system to control automated blinds and curtains, adjust the room’s temperature, and even alter the configuration of their hospital bed for better comfort.


Historically, these adjustments have required a registered nurse’s attention, distracting them from other tasks and adding to their workload. Empowering patients not only makes their stay at a hospital more comfortable but also lets staff focus on the most pressing tasks. 

Infotainment Systems And Healthcare Providers

Healthcare providers can also use infotainment computers for their own purposes. By using an RFID badge or smart card, providers can sign into restricted functions only available to authorized staff to access sensitive information about the patient. This lets it work as a medical panel PC and pull double duty for the patient and the provider. 

What Do Infotainment Computers Require?

Like all equipment used in a hospital, infotainment computers need to be specialized for their environment. The most important features are:

IEC 60601 Certification

While it may be used primarily for entertainment, an infotainment system is still an electronic device in a medical setting. Therefore, it needs to meet specific safety requirements, the most important of which are IEC 60601-1 and 60601-1-2

These certifications ensure that even when used in close proximity to other devices, the infotainment computer won’t disrupt or be disrupted by other devices. 

IP65 Protection

Because they operate in close proximity to patients and have multiple people touch them, infotainment systems will need to be frequently disinfected and cleaned to prevent the spread of germs. 

This makes an IP65-rated front bezel critical for protecting the LCD screen and electronic components underneath. Without sealed protection, dust and liquids can enter the casing and damage the computer. 

Security and Privacy Measures

If the infotainment system also doubles as a bedside medical computer, having the proper security and privacy features is critical. Under HIPAA regulations, any device that stores or accesses private health information must implement access control features like RFID tags or smart cards that prevent unauthorized individuals from viewing that information. 

Privacy is another concern, especially in crowded hospital wards with potentially prying eyes. A privacy filter installed behind the monitor’s glass ensures that only the person currently using the infotainment system can view its contents. 

Closing Thoughts

Modern infotainment systems make it easier to keep inpatients happy, comfortable, and in contact with their loved ones. With the right security and connectivity features, they can even benefit hospital staff by serving as a bedside medical computer. 

If your healthcare group is looking for medical computers that can serve as infotainment consoles, contact the team at Cybernet Manufacturing. Our medical-grade tablets and computers can easily be installed in a patient’s room and are compatible with a full range of apps and programs. Several of our models can even draw power from Ethernet cables, simplifying installation. 

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