Almost all patients want to be greeted by name when seeing a doctor for the first time and want to shake hands, a survey of patients found. But while handshakes are common, doctors often never utter the patient's name, the researchers said.
The researchers surveyed 415 U.S. adults in 2004 and 2005 on their preferences and expectations for initial greetings by doctors. They also looked at videotapes of 123 new patient visits with 19 doctors in Chicago and Burlington, Vermont, to see what these doctors were doing in such settings.
Seventy-eight percent of patients surveyed wanted a doctor to shake their hands, while 18 percent did not. In the taped sessions, doctors and patients shook hands 83 percent of the time.