156 – Adopt transparent systems

Do things the right way, not the easy way. Listen to hear how adopting a more transparent system saved thousands of lives in five United States states.

Pills in hand

This week on Anecdotally Speaking, Shawn shares a story from Malcolm Gladwell’s podcast, Revisionist History. You can find the episode here

The story follows the introduction of the triplicate system for prescriptions in the United States, the true impact of which wasn’t realised until decades later. 

Shawn mentions a blog post he wrote about adapting podcast stories for use at work and our Story-Powered Data program. He invites listeners who want to learn more about the program to contact us at people@anecdote.com

And Mark invites listeners interested in evaluating our Story-Powered Sales or Storytelling for Leaders programs for use within their organisation to contact us. We are happy to provide free tickets to our upcoming events for this purpose! 

For your story bank

Tags: extra work, impact, life and death, transparency

This story starts at 04:05

In the late 1930s, in the United States, Paul Madden was appointed as the Head of the Californian Narcotics Enforcement Group. And he was concerned about GPs prescribing addictive drugs like morphine and opioids without keeping track of their prescriptions.

He contemplated how they could develop a bureaucratic solution and eventually devised the triplicate system. The system came in with an extension of the Narcotics Act and required GPs to make three copies of each prescription they created. One copy remained with the GP, two would go with the patient to their pharmacist, and the pharmacist would keep one and send another to a government department that kept track of all prescriptions.

The triplicate system created a sense that people were watching the actions of GPs, but not every state chose to adopt it. Far from it. Only five states brought it in.

Decades later, the 1990s saw the US tackle the opioid crisis. Some 800,000 deaths were associated with addictive drug overdoses.

But the opioid crisis was lesser for those states that had adopted the triplicate system. They saw a monumental 43% fewer deaths than other states.

About  Anecdote International

Anecdote International is a global training and consulting company, specialising in utilising storytelling to bring humanity back to the workforce. Anecdote is now unique in having a global network of over 60 partners in 28 countries, with their learning programs translated into 11 languages, and customers who incorporate these programs into their leadership and sales enablement activities.

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