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Person of Zest: Ryan

There’s no shortage of smart, talented people who show up to make Zest happen. Our Person of Zest feature is about celebrating our team and what they do.

Ryan Tiltz, Zest Nurse and Tech Lead

Ryan combines nursing and technology in a way not many people are able to. He’s a Zest nurse and part of our product development team, so you might talk with him if you aren’t feeling well, or interact with his work when you’re in the Zest app. We’ll let him explain how he does it.

What inspired you to become an RN?
I had a friend whose mom worked at the hospital. She got me a job in the operating room right out of high school. It was a first-of-its kind program. I was trained on the job for things like scrubbing in—things they teach you in nursing school. I got to work on surgery cases right out of high school. I wanted to help people and a career in medicine, but decided to take a different route and go into nursing.

What lead you to Zest?
After the operating room and nursing school, I worked in an ICU as a charge nurse for ten years. I was involved in all the EMR (electronic medical record) stuff and trained everyone there.

A friend of mine introduced me to Mobile Makers Academy. There, I learned how to make iPhone apps. I was doing some odd jobs coding and one of the Zest founders found me on LinkedIn. He said, “Hey, we think your background is really interesting—you don’t see too many people working in nursing and tech.” They didn’t know where to put me [at Zest].

It’s a really interesting transition, and definitely not a skill combination you see too often.
I left my bedside nursing career for Zest. I thought, if I do this, I have to jump in and fully immerse myself in this tech thing. I wanted to try something else.

Human anatomy and machines go hand in hand. Every single part of you is interconnected. If something’s wrong with you, you have to find the root cause to fix it. And that’s exactly like code.

Give us a snapshot of how you combine the two here.
On the concierge side, I primarily do triage. That goes into patient education. People worry about worst case scenarios. If you can debunk that worst case scenario, their anxiety level lowers.

Then I do product development and QA. I worked on design and wireframes for all the workflows in v2 of the app. How do you make the product better? I’ll go off of escalation cases when a member isn’t happy. I’ll do service recovery where I’ll get on the phone with them, get an understanding of what happened, and get their feedback. [Product features are] highly member-influenced.

Name five things you can’t live without.
My daughter and pregnant wife. I can’t be without movies, so the movie theater I built in my house. Mike and Ike’s. Music. Being outdoors, mostly walking my dogs.

Favorite superhero?
I like Superman. It was the first comic I ever had. I begged my mom drive me to the comic book store every week.

Zest Staff
Helping folks navigate their healthcare, so benefits are actually beneficial.