5. Survey for all concerns
The concern the patient presents may not be the main reason they are seeing you. Emotional issues may mask as somatic complaints. Thus, a patient presenting with fatigue may actually be depressed. There also may be multiple concerns, both somatic and psychosocial.
Be aware of the "doorknob question" where patients bring up their most important concern as you are leaving the exam room. Having discussed and addressed the main reason for the visit, a good question to ask at the end of every visit is "have I addressed all your questions and concerns?"
Mark Hoffman, MD, is a medical oncologist at the Monter Cancer Center and associate professor of medicine at the Donald and Barbara Zucker School of Medicine at Hofstra/Northwell. He has written and taught extensively on the topic of doctor-patient communication.