Dr. Mark Sklansky has always hated shaking hands. He can think of about a dozen better ways to greet patients than the icky exchange. “Hands are warm, they’re wet, and we know that they transmit disease very well,” says Sklansky, chief of pediatric cardiology at UCLA Mattel Children’s Hospital. “They’re a phenomenal vector for disease.” He’s also tried to avoid this form of greeting because he knows that some patients don’t want to shake hands for religious or cultural reasons but feel compelled to when their doctor sticks out a hand. For a long time, though, being anti-handshake was fringe thinking. The handshake is such an ingrained part of the doctor-patient relationship that it happens 83% of the time, according to one 2007 analysis of more than 100 videotaped office visits.