Reader Poll: Should Clinicians Shake Hands With Patients?

May 20, 2014

Clinicians should consider no longer shaking hands with patients, according to a Viewpoint article published in the May 15 issue of JAMA. Although the handshake is a well-established social custom, the authors say it may be time for it to go the way of other outdated practices, given what is known about how infectious diseases can be transmitted. The authors suggest a variety of alternatives to the handshake, including the hand wave, placing the right hand over the heart, the bow, placing hands together in front of the chest (Namaste gesture). Others have suggested the fist bump and the elbow touch as alternatives to the handshake.

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