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Ognomy – A Buffalo-based telehealth ‘sleep company’

We most likely all know someone affected by sleep apnea or some other sleep disorder. And chances are, that person has lamented what a pain-in-the-butt the ailment is. Or maybe you live with someone with sleep apnea? If that is the case, then you know first hand that it is a sleep disorder that dictates one’s quality of life. Not only can sleep apnea lead towards restless nights, it can also be dangerous. It is a problem that may couples have to deal with together, as sleep apnea usually leads to loud snoring, which can be quite bothersome for partners.

Sleep apnea comes about when a person has a difficult time breathing while sleeping. This results in a person being jolted awake, just to get the breathing process started again (there are a number of types of sleep apnea). The ailment can be caused by being overweight, and can be enhanced by other conditions such as allergies. 

One thing is sure when it comes to sleep apnea. No one wants to deal with it, because it’s a nuisance all around. From the diagnosis to the breathing contraptions (CPAP machines), it’s a real bummer. The good news is that the aids and remedies for sleep apnea have come a long way, making it a lot more bearable than it used to be.

As a way to make sleep apnea less problematic, a Buffalo-based company called Ognomy has come up with a way to reduce the headaches that come along with symptom. Typically, those who are experiencing signs of sleep apnea are told to visit a sleep center, where they are monitored overnight. That alone is a tough pill to swallow. But now, Ognomy has found a better way that is much less of a hassle. Ognomy (a phone app) has monitoring equipment sent directly to a person’s homes, where he or she can rest easier knowing that they will get an accurate reading from the comfort of their own beds. From there, Ognomy guides people through the entire process, from diagnosis to treatment. Talk about revolutionary, especially during a time of pandemic, when more people are reluctant to leave their homes to visit clinics.

Dr. Daniel Rifkin, MD, MPH, is the founder and CEO of Ognomy – a company that is considered “the first healthcare service to entirely shift the diagnosis and care of sleep apnea from a clinical setting to the home.” Rifkin is a board-certified neurologist and sleep medicine specialist, who also founded and serves as the medical director of the Sleep Medicine Centers of Western New York. Rifkin, a clinical assistant professor of neurology at the University at Buffalo, recently appointed Greg Ross to the position of Chief Operating Officer at Ognomy.

“I’ve been following the evolution of the telehealth space – particularly with its escalated adoption last year – and Ognomy had my attention as a new company pushing the industry forward,” said Ross, who has 20 years of experience in the technology and software industry, including leadership roles at both Hewlett-Packard Enterprise and a startup within Dell’s CTO organization. “This is an incredible inflection point for the business, which is quickly expanding into new markets, and I look forward to working with the Ognomy team to provide the best possible experience for our customers, partners, and employees.”

Being a Buffalo-based company, there’s a certain amount of altruism that comes along with doing business. That’s why Ognomy has set out to make a difference in the lives of those who are down on their luck. Ognomy recently created “RestCue” kits that they are being donated* to people who have wound up staying at homeless shelters, and who are having a hard time getting some shuteye. The kits include “earplugs, eye masks, lavender fragrances, a pen and pad to jot down their worries, items that wouldn’t be of access usually at shelters.”

These days, there are more people accessing homeless shelters due to unavoidable circumstances such as natural disasters and COVID. Being suddenly uprooted and winding up at a shelter is extremely unsettling. Can you imagine what it must be like to try to sleep in a foreign environment during a time of duress? That’s why Ognomy has set out to make a difference in people’s lives the best way that they know how, whether it’s at home, or at a shelter that is the closest thing to “home” that some people have.

*To date, “RestCue” kits have been provided to the Buffalo City Mission and to the Niagara Gospel Mission.

Lead image: Photo by Claudia Mañas

Written by queenseyes


Newell Nussbaumer is 'queenseyes' - Eyes of the Queen City and Founder of Buffalo Rising. Co-founder Elmwood Avenue Festival of the Arts. Co-founder Powder Keg Festival that built the world's largest ice maze (Guinness Book of World Records). Instigator behind Emerald Beach at the Erie Basin Marina. Co-created Flurrious! winter festival. Co-creator of Rusty Chain Beer. Instigator behind Saturday Artisan Market (SAM) at Canalside, Buffalo Porchfest, and Paint vs. Paint. Founder of The Peddler retro and vintage market on Elmwood. Instigator behind Liberty Hound @ Canalside. Throws The Witches Ball at Statler City, the Hertel Alley Street Art Festival, and The Flutterby Festival.

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