He walked over the where the man was pointing at the screen, looked and asked to see the data. The two of them reviewed the blood pressure results for the last month, looking at the overall pattern, and individual measure results. They compared this month's average on a beta-blocker against the prior month's without it. Scrolling through the months, clearly they could see there were no statistically significant results between the two. Then they looked at the heart rate data. That showed a clear, nearly 10 bpm average drop, so the drug was doing something. Next the two of them looked at weight data for the last 30 days. It's November, and the patient definitely followed the "thanksgiving" pattern of gaining several pounds. Looking back to Halloween, they could even see a bit of a gain trend starting there.
It was pretty clear what was needed. The patient has to drop a few pounds gained over the holidays.
This wasn't fiction, it was real. I was at the doctor's office yesterday, and the guy with the computer was me. Next year, I'll be able to send him that data so he can look at it ahead of time. Have I said recently that I love my doctor?