We're hiring: tech success

While job prospects may seem few in the Okanagan, there are businesses that are thriving – and hiring.

By most accounts, the tech industry is booming in the region, with local startups succeeding in what's becoming Silicon Valley North.

One of those success stories is QHR Corp.

Considered a leader in the healthcare information technology sector, it has just been recognized as a TSX Venture 50 company.

“I saw the article about no jobs in Kelowna, and we have been hiring constantly for the last year. We are one of the companies that are hiring – and there are jobs available,” said Mike Checkley, president and CEO.

“What is sort of neat about our story is that we are a technology company that started here in Kelowna. We have now grown to be one of the larger tech employers in town, and we currently expect to hire more than 20 staff this year. We currently have six open positions we are hoping to fill – everything from sales to support desk to software developers.”

QHR was founded in 1997 and now employs more than 200 workers, 120 of whom are in Kelowna.

After a very successful year, Checkley says QHR was proud to make the TSX Venture 50.

The TSX Venture 50 is an annual ranking of the top 10 companies listed on the TSX Venture Exchange in each of five major industry sectors: mining, oil and gas, clean technology and life sciences, diversified industries, and technology.

“It is fantastic for a local Kelowna company to be listed in the top 50, I think it is great. It is a sign you really can grow a very competitive technology company from a city the size of Kelowna. There is still a stigma out there that if you want to grow your business, you have to be in Vancouver or Toronto – and we want to change that,” said Checkley.

“Kelowna is a great place to work, it is a great place to live. There are jobs here, and I want the world to know about that.”

QHR focuses on healthcare technologies for physicians and their patients. The company boasts the largest electronic-medical-record software platform in Canada.

Right now, the firm is excited about a product that allows patients to speak with doctors directly online.

“This doesn't replace the in-person visit, absolutely not,” said Checkley. “But, if I am just going to get my prescription renewed, I don't need to drive down and see the doctor, we can just have a quick call. As a busy guy, that is the kind of thing I would love to be able to do.”

He says online-visit technology is also getting lots of interest in the medical-health field, where therapists and patients could utilize the video meetings.

“This is something where you don't need to necessarily have physical interaction with someone, you just need to talk to them,” said Checkley. “It is a lot more comfortable for patients if they talk to someone in the comfort and security of their home.”

Most importantly, the technology is about accessibility.

“For rural communities, for people with mobility problems and even just convenience,” said Checkley.

“It is the way of the future, and we are building the technology to make it happen.”

Looking forward, Checkley says the future is promising as QHR continues to develop new software to help the medical industry.

“We are an example of a company that is finding a way to grow in Kelowna. There are growing companies in the Okanagan that are looking to hire, and it is a great place to live and work,” said Checkley.

“Kelowna is a great spot to be.”

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