About Open Oximetry

Many patients around the world do not have access to safe pulse oximeters.

There are many reasons for this such as high purchase costs and supply chain limitations.  However, there are additional less obvious barriers to safe oximetry which include inadequate device testing standards, limited public access to device testing data, and fraudulent or misleading claims by some manufacturers. There are also additional challenges inherent to the design of many oximeters, such as the impact of dark skin pigmentation, low perfusion and severe anemia on performance, which have been incompletely characterized in the public domain and are not adequately accounted for in current regulatory standards.

To solve these challenges, the UCSF Center for Health Equity in Surgery and Anesthesia (CHESA) and the UCSF Hypoxia Lab are working with multiple collaborators to launch the Open Oximetry Project. The project is based on our teams more than 40 years of pulse oximeter device testing and development experience. We are utilizing our testing capability, historical datasets, and seminal work on skin pigment’s impact on oximetry to improve equity in oximetry.

Our Mission

Improve access to accurate pulse oximeters worldwide by sharing data and developing new standards and technologies for oximeter validation.

Our Goals

Short term

  • Lab Testing on Humans to determine which existing oximeters work and which don’t and to develop new protocols that better validate device performance
  • Performance Data Dissemination via OpenOximetry.org to help those buying and using oximeters to know which devices are safe
  • Real World Human Studies to characterize how and why some oximeters perform well in a lab setting but not in some patients in the clinical setting (The FDA funded EquiOx Study begins enrollment July 25, 2022 – more information coming soon on our Study Protocols page)
  • Bring together a consortium of stakeholders from diverse institutions, disciplines and settings to share ideas and data to help improve oximetry performance and equity


Long term

  • Develop new laboratory based techniques (both in vivo and in vitro) to better predict oximeter performance in clinical settings across the spectrum of patient factors including skin pigment and low perfusion; this includes improved, standardized techniques for skin pigment quantification and novel mechanisms for raw oximeter signal analysis
  • Analyze large, diverse datasets to provide insights that will help develop accurate, low-cost oximeters that perform safely in all patients; this will start the the Hypoxia Labs historical dataset of 1000s of patients
  • Raise the bar for performance standards for oximeter certification that adequately account for the effects of skin pigment, perfusion and other factors known or hypothesized to impact performance (Okunlola et al, Respiratory Care Journal, November 2021)
  • Provide pragmatic performance reviews for oximeters on the market, including not only validations of accuracy but also assessments of important implementation factors such as lifetime costs
  • Create an open access online data repository for oximeter raw performance data that can be used by researchers and industry to inform better product development; the database will contain lab and clinical trial data from multiple groups collaborating on the Open Oximetry Project and will be available to anyone


If you or your organization is interested in collaborating with the Open Oximetry Project, please email us.

Our funding

  • The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation has provided catalytic funding to support our lab-based research.
  • The Patrick J. McGovern Foundation has provided catalytic funding to support creation of our open access data repository.
  • The US FDA has provided funding via the UCSF-Stanford Center of Excellence in Regulatory Science and Innovation (CERSI) to support our prospective clinical studies
  • The USAID Sustaining Technical and Analytic Resources (STAR) Project supported creation of the OpenOximetry.org demo website
  • The UCSF Hypoxia Lab funded testing for the initial oximeters loaded into the database

We are continuing to fundraise to expand and sustain the project. If you are interested in collaborating or supporting, please contact us.

Our Team

Michael Lipnick, MD

UCSF Center for Health Equity in Surgery and Anesthesia

Michael Lipnick is an Associate Professor in the Department of Anesthesia at UCSF and based clinically at San Francisco General Hospital. He is an investigator in the UCSF Hypoxia Lab and co-Director of the UCSF Center for Health Equity in Surgery and Anesthesia. His research interests include health disparities, ARDS and hypoxia tolerance. His recent funding has supported investigations of performance of inexpensive pulse oximeters as well development of novel in vitro oximeter performance validation devices.

Kelvin Moore Jr.

UCSF School of Medicine

Kelvin Moore Jr. is a UCSF Medical Student and Research Assistant in the Hypoxia Lab. With career interests in anesthesiology and an overarching passion for implementing health equity, he believes that working on OpenOximetry is an excellent opportunity to propel his interests as well as contribute to a canon of work that highlights and addresses the disparate medical conditions seen domestically and globally. Prior to his appointment with the Hypoxia Lab, he served as a Clinical Research Coordinator at the Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital and the San Francisco AIDS Foundation. He holds two Bachelor of Arts in Public Health and Biology from Brown University.

Phil Bickler, MD, PhD

UCSF Hypoxia Lab

Phil Bickler is Professor of Anesthesia at UCSF and Director of the UCSF Hypoxia Lab. Dr. Bickler joined Dr. Severinghaus as a research fellow in 1986 and has directed the laboratory since Dr. Severinghaus’ retirement in the early 1990’s. In addition to the Hypoxia Lab, Dr. Bickler directs a basic science laboratory that is involved in studying how neurons adapt to oxygen deprivation. He also oversees high altitude protocols, clinical projects investigating regional and cerebral oximetry during neurosurgery, and a pilot study examining the effects of acute hypoxia and pre-conditioning on cognition. He has published over 80 peer reviewed studies.

Paul Batchelder

Clinimark Labs

Mr. Batchelder attended the University Of Chicago Pritzker School Of Medicine Respiratory Therapy Program and is currently Chief Clinical Officer of Clinimark. From 1991 to 2005 he was the Head of Clinical Research for Datex-Ohmeda and GE Healthcare, where he established and directed the Louisville laboratories and managed medical affairs.
He is a member of the University of Colorado Medical School, Division of Pulmonary Sciences and Critical Care Medicine Research Board. He is also a member of the ASTM Pulse Oximetry Working Group where he functioned as Designated United States Expert and representative to the International Standards Organization. He was actively involved in the development of the current International Standard for Pulse Oximetry (9919).

Carolyn Hendrickson, MD

UCSF EquiOx Study Site PI

Dr. Hendrickson is a pulmonary and critical care medicine subspecialist with an expertise and research focus in acute lung injury and acute respiratory distress syndrome (ARDS), the most common life-threatening manifestation of COVID-19 disease. She is the medical director of the Medical Intensive Care Unit at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. During the first two years of the pandemic, this safety-net hospital for our county cared for approximately half of all ICU patients with COVID-19 disease in San Francisco and Dr. Hendrickson served as the physician lead to establish and run the COVID ICU. She is currently the site PI for the Open Oximetry EquiOx Study for the FDA.

Mike Bernstein

Physio Monitor LLC

Mike Bernstein is an engineer with extensive experience in pulse oximeter device development and validation. For nearly 40 years he has worked for leading oximeter manufacturers to develop and improve pulse oximeter technologies. He is the collaborating lead engineer for the UCSF Hypoxia Lab and has also served as a collaborator and advisor for Lifebox.

John Feiner, MD

UCSF Hypoxia Lab

John Feiner if Professor of Anesthesiology at UCSF and a co-investigator in the UCSF Hypoxia Lab. Dr. Feiner joined Dr. Severinghaus in the Hypoxia Lab in 1992 and has been participating in the study of pulse oximeters since that time. He is responsible for data acquisition, programming, and data analysis. He provides expertise in mathematical modeling, data acquisition programming, human studies, and respiratory physiology.

Bunmi Okunlola, MD

UCSF Center for Health Equity in Surgery and Anesthesia

Bunmi Okunlola is a Clinical Instructor of Anesthesia at NYU and member of the UCSF Hypoxia Lab research team. After completing her medical training and anesthesia residency at Mount Sinai in New York, Bunmi joined the CHESA team in 2020 as a Global Health Equity Fellow. During her Fellowship year she was based at Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital, and her projects included development of a Health Equity Curriculum for residents in multiple perioperative departments. Bunmi also led a research project focusing on equity in pulse oximetry.

Isabella Auchus

UCSF School of Medicine

Isabella is a senior medical student at the University of California San Francisco with interests in anesthesia and global health equity. Isabella has been a key contributor to building the oximetry database and FAQs. She is also a research associate in the Hypoxia Lab where she has been actively studying the performance of inexpensive oximeters.

Christine Kuo, MD

UCSD Anesthesia Fellow

Christine Kuo is an anesthesia resident at the UCSF Anesthesia Residency Program. Dr. Kuo is interested in the intersection between technology and health equity and has been an active collaborator in the Hypoxia Lab and the UCSF Center for Health Equity in Surgery and Anesthesia. Dr. Kuo is currently developing protocols for in vitro oximeter validation and new protocols for in vivo skin pigment quantification for oximeter performance studies.

Caroline Hughes, BS

Hypoxia Lab CRC

Deleree Schornack, BS

Hypoxia Lab CRC

About Oximeter Database Oximetry FAQ Study Protocols Publications