From Nurse to Entrepreneur: Following a Passion for Improving Health Care Delivery
During her third year at Northeastern, Cassie Choi’s nursing professor said “you’re not going to be a bedside nurse for long.” Much to her surprise, this turned out to come true. While working as a nurse for three and a half years, Cassie became intrigued by the business side of health care.
Even as a nursing co-op student, she was compelled to improve systems. She used her evening shifts to reorganize emergency room supply carts so that each one was identical and efficient. At Columbia University Medical Center, she became interested in getting transplants to patients sooner and developed pre-op transplant protocols to improve patient care. At Kaiser Permanente, she discovered a new model of health care —a payer-provider system that aligned incentives for better patient outcomes. Choi was frustrated by the misalignment of administrative functions and patient care and knew she could make an impact in the next stage of her career.
She was contacted by a recruiter on LinkedIn and was hired by a health tech start-up, Forward, specializing in AI-enhanced primary care and preventative telemedicine. From consulting to Director of Operations, Choi was passionate about operational strategy and modern, accessible healthcare.
With her business partner, Neil Batlivala, Cassie Choi co-founded Pair Team in 2019, making her entrepreneurial dreams a reality. Their company provides technology and automation for clinical operations, especially for clinics in underserved communities. She credits Northeastern for early exposure to working with at-risk patient populations, as well as her early-career experience in tech-enabled care solutions. She understood the benefits of automation, and that streamlining administrative tasks could reduce burnout on clinical teams, and result in better care.
Choi’s industry advisors and mentors helped her build confidence and she says she would not be where she is today without them. She benefitted from networks of entrepreneurs and women and learned quickly the art of reaching out. At first she felt shy, but learned that people were very welcoming and willing to share their expertise. Looking back at her unique career evolution, Cassie Choi’s advice is to believe in yourself and notice what motivates you. Her knowledge and path changed over time and her frustrations with the health care system led her to a deeper mission. She naturally questioned why things are the way they are, and suggests we all do the same. It was empathy for patients, and a love of technology that drove her to take career risks and find success and her calling.