Tech For Good – Feat. CareScribe

We recently caught up with Rich Purcell, Co-founder and Director at CareScribe Ltd, an assistive technology company based in Bristol.

The purpose of the Tech For Good series of interviews is to create a platform that showcases and champions companies, products and technologists who are using technology as a force for positive change in the world.

Sky @ ADLIB: Can you please introduce yourself, what your business does and what makes your business and offering unique and a force for good?

Rich: My name is Rich Purcell and I am an NHS Doctor and founder of CareScribe, an assistive technology company based in Bristol.

At CareScribe, we build technology to help people access the world. We believe that everyone has the right to live the life they wish, and that disability and neurodiversity should not stand in the way.

Our products are used by tens of thousands of people worldwide daily and aim to level the playing field for our users. Our two products include TalkType (dictation software for Mac) and Caption.Ed (AI-powered captioning and note-taking software).

Sky @ ADLIB: Can you share the story behind the origin of your business and product?

Rich: I struggled throughout school, medical school and even at work as an NHS doctor because of my dyslexia. Before founding CareScribe, while I was still at university in fact, my friend and I created Medincle. Medincle is a piece of software designed to help students with the complexities of medical jargon.I saw an opportunity to broaden what we could offer to those in the world of assistive technology, this was when CareScribe was born.

Sky @ ADLIB: Can you share some tech challenges or barriers you had to overcome to create a product offering with potential, whilst remaining ‘for good’?

Rich: Not necessarily a “tech” barrier but we launched Caption.Ed during the Covid-19 pandemic, which forced us all to adapt.

For a number of disabled people across the world, this shift opened up possibilities that hadn’t been available to them before – virtual social events, music performances, working and conferences. It was the first time that society at large began to consider the benefits of going remote and how tech can play a part in that.

However, as tech became more widely used by the masses, the temptation for some companies I suppose was to create or adapt their products to appeal to as many people as possible. I think that’s a mistake. We’re passionate about creating tech for the minority at CareScribe and that will always be our aim.

Sky @ ADLIB: Why do you think it is a growing trend for tech professionals to seek out opportunities to work in purpose-driven businesses?

Rich: I think the majority of people would choose to work for an organisation with purpose, as opposed to one without. I like to believe people have an innate want to do good. However I do think that, for many people, the challenges of modern life drive them to settle into jobs that don’t address this requirement.

For many people, leaving a job is risky and it takes either a carrot or a stick to incentivise a move. I think the pandemic gave people that nudge: the world went through a life altering disaster and most people came out the otherside. I think the pandemic encouraged people to take the leap and realise that finding that perfect job might not be quite so risky after all.

Sky @ ADLIB: What has been the key thing you’ve learned about ‘tech for good’ and your target audience specifically?

Rich: When I started out in assistive tech I designed products to solve a specific problem I experienced as a dyslexic doctor, I knew the use-case really well which informed our product design. As the business has expanded we’ve begun to address problems which I have no first hand experience of.

CareScribe is always driving to get the voice of our users into our product, get rid of assumptions and use hard data to drive decision making. Ultimately we think this will help make our products the best they can be. Don’t get me wrong this is the aim and we’re not at the finish line, we’re getting better, but we know we’ve still a long way to go.