Zoning In With Richard Randall

Richard Randall was appointed CEO of OMNIlife science (OMNI) in November 2014. Mr. Randall brings more than 30 years of experience in establishing medical device firms to his new position. Prior to his role at OMNI he served as CEO of Medical Compression Systems, where he established marketing and sales for hospital and outpatient commercialization of their therapy.

From 2011 to 2013 Mr. Randall served as Chairman and CEO of Avantis Medical, where he focused on developing a domestic reimbursement and marketing strategy. From 2002 to 2011, Mr. Randall was Chairman, President and CEO of TranS1. He joined the firm as the first employee and managed TranS1 through early product development, product regulatory approvals, market launches in the U.S. and Europe, two private equity financings and an IPO.

BONEZONE spoke to Mr. Randall to discuss his plans for OMNI and ways that his previous roles prepared him to grow the company and further innovation in the orthopaedic industry.

BONEZONE: How has your leadership experience in the medical device industry prepared you for your role at OMNIlife science?

Randall: Since 1980, my career has focused exclusively on emerging technologies that either change the traditional gold standard form of medicine, or replace the gold standard. Since I’ve been doing that for 35 years, I’ve found that the biggest challenge is replacing old habits with new habits. Physicians are taught not to change – to stick with what works. If we’re going to replace a therapy with a new one, we have to be in the business of getting physicians comfortable in departing the habit that they have and replacing it with a new one that proves to be better. I’ve done this in cardiology, neurosurgery, sports medicine, spine surgery and now orthopaedics. I’ve found that orthopaedic surgeons are probably the most challenging in terms of changing their habits. Orthopaedic surgery is instrument-intensive. They utilize more instrumentation than any other surgeon. Therefore, it’s extremely challenging to break the habit of getting great results with an instrument set that they’ve probably used since their early training is. I took this on because I now believe that the changes we are experiencing in healthcare under the Affordable Care Act and our current economic environment create an opportunity to change habits, leading to better clinical outcomes that are more value-based.

BONEZONE: How do you plan to drive growth and further innovation at OMNIlife?

Randall: In a term, to provide strategic discipline to the company. That strategic discipline will be supported by several activities. First of all, we have to create awareness of the benefits of robotic assisted total joint arthroplasty and get our messaging down as to why a surgeon should consider a move from traditional total joint arthroplasty to robotic assisted arthroplasty.

The other thing we need to do in a disciplined fashion is to target. The good news is that robotic surgery today occupies a very small share of the entire total joint market. In the knee, the only other robotic technology that’s available only addresses the partial knee – not the total knee replacement; partial knee replacement is about 15 percent of the indicated knee replacement patient population. That means we have a lot of room to maneuver. Targeting the appropriate surgeon and right hospital is what we need to do. Certain surgeons are more amenable or in greater need in the current environment to up their ante with quality. Certain hospitals are in greater need to be able to provide a high level of quality outcomes that they can market to gain share in their region.

Third, we need more outcome analysis. We are approaching 5,000 total knee replacements performed using the OMNI navigational robotic system. All of our surgeons will tell you, anecdotally, that their outcomes are better since they’ve moved to the robotic.

Last, we need to continue to fund our R&D. We have quite a few initiatives on our plate or that we would like to put on our plate that would further drive robotics with even greater quality outcome, and would level the playing field in the marketplace for many surgeons and hospital providers alike.

BONEZONE: What are your greatest challenges, today?

Randall: The first is financing the growth that is available to this company. What I’m used to is moving to a small or early stage/emerging stage company where the greatest challenge is finding customers to use or adopt your product. In this case many customers out there have an interest in working with us. Our challenge is to make sure that when we bring that customer on, we can fully support his clinical needs with the instrumentation, the robotics and the support team to make him successful and move him through the learning curve.

The second is to take advantage of the open markets that are available to the company. Our current users are spread out in pockets around the U.S. If you were to plot our current users on a map, you would see plenty of holes in the U.S., representing huge growth opportunities. As we bring more financing into the company, we want to get the messaging out into markets where we’re not as strong. The third challenge is to build a highly functional team that transitions us as a company from old orthopaedics to the new robotic orthopaedics. We’re adding people here in the U.S. on both sides. We’re strengthening our team here in Massachusetts for better execution. We’re investing on the robotics side in a team that will be located in Silicon Valley. They’re going to drive the software development that is tied to the advancement of our robotics.

The fourth challenge is evolving robotic assisted total joint arthroplasty. There’s a lot more we want to do with our technology, moving beyond total knee arthroplasty. We have active programs in total hip and will take our knee offering and advance that in a much broader fashion, as well.

BONEZONE: What lessons have you learned throughout your career?

Randall: You can never assume that past success will dictate future success. If you assume you’re going to apply what supported success at your last company to your new company – you may be rudely surprised by the result. Really pay attention to the ever-changing world we live in. If you pay attention to these changes, you can get ahead of new challenges that are unanticipated or have never been experienced before. You can find new opportunities that never existed and be the first to take advantage of those opportunities to further ensure your success.

In the current environment, you have to leverage the technology capabilities you have to the overall needs of the healthcare market. This includes the needs of the patient and your orthopaedic surgeon customers, and now the needs of the hospital and healthcare system in general. Those constituents and their needs have to be incorporated; then you take a look at your technology and see if you can isolate a bullseye for all of those constituents. If you can do that, you have a good chance of winning. It wasn’t that long ago where all we had to do was focus on the patient and physician, and if we did that, we probably won. Not today. I know many technologies that are great for the patient and the physician, but if they don’t meet the existing needs of the hospital or the healthcare system, you may lose.

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