Terry Stein, MD

Physician Communication and Wellness, Regional Office

“Dr. Stein’s leadership has helped establish communication as an indispensable part of a successful patient visit.”

When Terry Stein, MD, began practicing in the 1980s, the prevailing belief was that physicians’ success rested on their clinical skills; communication skills were seen as far less important.

Dr. Stein has changed that way of thinking. Her leadership helped establish the role of communication in improving health outcomes and increasing satisfaction for physicians and patients.

In 1990, she created a one-day interactive workshop, Thriving in a Busy Practice, one of the first programs anywhere to train physicians to communicate more effectively, especially in difficult encounters. She went on to co-develop The Four Habits Model in 1996, which carefully orchestrates the flow of communication in the exam room and in the hospital to encourage conversation, elicit information, and strengthen the doctor/patient relationship. This groundbreaking communication model is used throughout Kaiser Permanente and around the world. It has been translated into at least five languages.

In 1994, she started the Communication Consultants group with eight TPMG physicians who shared her passion for connecting with patients. The Consultants now number more than 170 clinicians who teach communication skills and provide support to their colleagues at every medical center.

Over the past 30+ years, Dr. Stein’s leadership helped elevate communication from an afterthought to an indispensable element in creating a more satisfying and productive encounter for physician and patient alike.