Spotlight: Dianne Savastano

Hometown: Providence, RI.

I live with: my husband, Robert Norton.

Tell us about the work you do. How did you wind up here? I’m a private healthcare advisor. I specialize in helping people navigate the healthcare system that can include going to doctors’ appointments and assisting with insurance related matters.

I identified an unmet need for people to be guided through our incredibly complex healthcare system. I realized that because of my varied experiences in the field of healthcare throughout my career, that I had an incredible amount of “Insider Knowledge” about the entire system allowing me to provide consulting services, and so I capitalized on that by creating Healthassist. In addition, I wanted to create my own business involving something I’m passionate about, very good at, and would allow me to work with people according to my very high standards of professionalism and quality.

What did you want to be when you were a little kid? How does that play into the work you do now? When I was a little girl, I wanted to be a choreographer, which is very funny, because I never studied dance. Then I wanted to be a teacher or a nurse. In the mid 1970’s as I was planning for college, despite my being very aware of the women’s movement, I didn’t recognize that there were many options beyond those traditional fields for women.

All of that plays into the work I do now. A choreographer composes the sequence of steps and moves for a performance of dance. In the project management of people’s healthcare, I am often assessing a situation and planning the sequence of steps required to help a client achieve a particular goal – so I see a correlation.

As a nurse, my clinical background is what allows me to do what I do and it differentiates me from others in the field who might not have an in-depth clinical background. Becoming a nurse led me to one role in my career as the Director of Managed Care for an insurance company and that experience continues to inform me every single day.

I never thought about it this way before but I like the sound of a being a “healthcare choreographer”.

What problems do you solve for your clients? I manage any problem a client or family has related to their healthcare – from communicating with the multitude of providers who may be involved, to managing hospitalizations and discharges, to setting up services in their home, to defining the best options for health insurance, to planning for end-of-life. I address whatever comes up, sometimes bringing in other resources that might be appropriate, such as estate planning or elder law attorneys or financial advisors. For one client, I assisted her with planning her funeral because that’s what she needed.

Tell us the best part of what you do. The best part is guiding clients, and then watching them learn and practice the tools we share so that they eventually take greater control of their own healthcare. They end up feeling empowered and that continuously gratifies me.

What’s your personal motto or mantra? I have many but here are two:

Within Healthassist, I never take “no” for an answer

From a leadership perspective, the most important practice of exemplary leadership is “model the way” and I try to do that in all aspects of my life.

Who’s your role model? There are many role models from all aspects of my life including family, teachers, previous managers, journalists and public figures. To name a few:

My dad who is the most content person I know

My 10th grade biology teacher who inspired me to study science and whose career as a business woman in the pharmaceutical industry was one I always admired

Numerous mentors and managers from different places of work. I always found someone I admired in each work setting and often reached out for guidance

Political leaders such as Madeline Albright, President Obama and Hillary Clinton. Despite how polarizing Hillary can be, I always admired her for her perseverance against incredible odds and for the things she actually accomplished. Michelle Obama is another favorite and I had the good fortune of meeting her last spring. She is as lovely and competent as she seems.

Where’s your favorite place to relax? Definitely on our sailboat

Tell us a favorite accomplishment. Creating Healthassist and then growing to the point of employing my team of Anne, Rene and Camille.

How can people work with you? One way to work with me is by scheduling a one-hour consult with Dianne via the Healthassist website:

Prospective clients sometimes email me and I respond to set up a phone call. A dialogue is essential to outlining the needs and identifying if I am the best match.