American patients want their doctor to shake their hand as a sign of respect and trust. According to a survey in the Archives of Internal Medicine, 81% of patients believed that student doctors should be taught to shake hands and even more thought that they should wash up between handshakes. Patients also expect doctors to smile, be friendly, attentive and polite; make them feel like a priority; and make eye contact. The Lancet concludes in an editorial that this research serves as "a reminder that all aspects of practice, research, funding and legislation should ultimately be directed to the benefit of patients."
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