Dawn A. Marcus
The Case-Based Guide to Targeted Assessment and Treatment
In medical school, we learned to obtain a chief complaint and an undirected history, allowing the patient to provide information about his or her condition without using excessive focused questions. Although this approach prevents the examiner from concentrating on an incorrect diagnosis before enough facts have been identified, it is time-consuming and fails to direct the patient to important historical information. In addition, an unfocused evaluation often identifies nonspecific or unrelated abnormalities.