The Outpatient Health Monitoring System (OHMS) is a remote wireless networking device that measures a patient’s daily chronic condition, such as asthma, as well as environmental factors (airborne particulates, pollution, humidity and temperature). OHMS seeks to empower patients with chronic diseases and their doctors to work together on health maintenance and management and on crisis prevention using secure Internet-based technologies and wireless devices that collect, aggregate and manage health and environmental data.

The device, a project in collaboration with Dr. David Henke, a pulmonary specialist in the UNC School of Medicine, will monitor the day-to-day condition of patients with severe asthma so that physicians can detect trends in their conditions and compare changes in their overall health to other variables, such as particulates in the air. With this kind of data, both patient and doctor will be able to spot health issues before they reach crisis proportion and be able to change medications and behaviors to manage the patient’s health, rather than react to a potentially deadly crisis with a costly trip to the emergency room.

OHMS includes:

  • Bluetooth-enabled sensor devices (spirometer, pulse oximeter)
  • Sensor Pod: a RENCI-developed hardware device to capture environmental data (particulate, humidity, temperature, etc)
  • Aggregator: a PC/PDA/Tablet device powered by RENCI-developed software to collect and transmit information to a database and to the patient’s doctor.

OHMS desired outcomes

  • Empower patients and doctors to manage health, rather than respond to crises
  • Reveal relationships between environment and health
  • Push development of remote health monitoring to improve rural healthcare
  • Decrease healthcare costs by reducing the need for emergency room care

Once the system is set up for a patient, it connects via commodity 802.11 wireless networks and/or Ethernet RJ-45 connections. Data will be transmitted to a database at RENCI.

Pilot Study

A pilot study will be conducted to test the device on five patients with confirmed diagnoses of asthma. The pilot will test the feasibility of capturing, transmitting, storing, analyzing, and visualizing individual patient symptoms and physiologic measures using the Internet and the portable OHMS device.


State of North Carolina


David Henke, MD, pulmonary division, UNC Health Care System, UNC School of Medicine

Project Team

  • John McGee, project manager
  • Dan Bedard
  • Kevin Gamiel
  • Jason Reilly
  • David Knowles
  • Warren Ginn
  • Michael Shoffner