To shake or not to shake hands? Enter the wristband

By Philip Ward, AuntMinnie.com staff writer

November 29, 2021 -- It's the dilemma facing every congress attendee these days: Do I shake hands with this colleague or not? In an enterprising attempt to solve this problem, colored wristbands are available at RSNA 2021 that indicate an individual's comfort level with contact.

The wristbands are supported by artificial intelligence (AI) software developer Aidoc. They use a traffic-light system: green for handshakes welcome, yellow/amber for elbows only, and red for no contact at all.

RSNA wristbands of different colors indicate what level of contact an individual is comfortable with

The aim is to bring clarity and to send out a message to other people about how you'd like to be greeted, but it remains to be seen whether this trend will catch on.

"On the first day, general greetings were a mix of elbow taps, shaking hands, fist bumps and alike, so there's really no consensus," Steve Holloway, principal analyst at Signify Research in Cranfield, U.K., told AuntMinnieEurope.com. "Mask-wearing was very well adhered to. The lack of booth coffee and chocolate had the biggest impact!"

"In general, RSNA 2021 feels pretty well organized and safe. The exhibit floor seemed quiet yesterday, and initial feedback from some vendors suggests customer/radiologist numbers visiting the booths were pretty low. Sunday is always a tricky day to judge, but even some of the bigger booths seemed more vendor- and staff-heavy," he said.

The use of wristbands at conferences may bring back memories of the controversial decision by the European Congress of Radiology (ECR) a few years ago to require everyone to wear wristbands as a means of easy identification and a way of monitoring behavior and actions. The bands contained barcodes and QR codes.

Some ECR delegates felt this was an invasion of their privacy, and others thought it was too much like being at a music gig or in an all-inclusive holiday camp. These criticisms led to the wristband idea being abandoned.


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