Vancouver software company gets shout-out from premier, sees jump in job applications
VANCOUVER -- A Vancouver-based software company immediately received job inquiries after the premier mentioned its name during a press conference.
Premier John Horgan was answering a question about job losses Thursday when he provided a glimmer of hope that some businesses are succeeding during these trying times.
“I hope I'm not breaching cabinet confidence here, a company called Thrive Health – who emerged through this pandemic with an app that allows people to take a look at their symptoms and then determine where they should go – has been hiring people in the 10s and 20s for the past numbers of weeks,” Premier John Horgan said. “So the tech sector, which has been struggling at the moment, will, I think, pick up immediately upon the high side, and we'll be going full guns from there.”
Thrive Health CEO David Helliwell said job-seekers started to contact them shortly after the press conference, which was televised and streamed live on local media outlets.
“It was definitely very, very good of him. It’s interesting that we had people applying for jobs after he said that because we are hiring a lot of people these days,” Helliwell told CTV News Vancouver via a Skype interview.
Thrive Health was founded in 2016 and specializes in working with various health authorities to better connect patients with health-care workers.
Before the pandemic, the company had 50 employees and has since hired about a dozen more workers.
In the first week of March, Helliwell said his team had a meeting with Health Minister Adrian Dix about creating an app to help address the COVID-19 crisis.
The province launched the COVID-19 support app on March 20 and about a week later, Health Canada launched one for all Canadians.
The app has resources and information from Canadian officials, updated statistics and a self-assessment tool that can help residents decide if they need to seek coronavirus testing.
So far, there are eight million users.
Helliwell said the self-assessment tool – which can also be found as a standalone test online – has helped divert many avoidable visits to the hospital.
“Hundreds of thousands of people said on the app that it changed their plans,” he explained. “So, they were planning to go to the ED (emergency department) or to call 911, when they didn't.”
He also said calls to 811 – the provincial health information line – have dropped since the the app launched, but he can’t say for sure there’s a direct correlation.
He said apart from the benefits the app provides users, users are also helping health experts learn more about the mysterious illness.
“Everything's being discovered as we go and nothing gives you a clear black-and-white answer,” Helliwell said. “So, having this population-wide sort of data is likely to prove to be a pretty big deal for the next year.”
He assures users that all the data is anonymous and the app does not track the user’s information.