Looking for a way to combine practice growth with continuous learning, Dr. Lewis Cummings decided to begin leading a dental study club. What he found is that, though there are other study club models on the market, Spear’s has been the most rewarding for him and his other club members.
About Dr. Lewis Cummings
Cummings currently maintains a progressive periodontal and dental implant practice in Kingwood, Texas. After graduating with honors from The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio Dental School, he continued his education with a residency in periodontics at The University of Nebraska Medical Center in Lincoln, where he received advanced training in oral plastic surgery, hard tissue grafting and dental implants He also completed a Master’s of Science degree in Oral Biology. Cummings holds associate clinical professor positions at both the University of Texas Dental School in Houston and the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Lincoln, teaching in the post-graduate programs.
A Higher Caliber of Dentistry Through Communication
As a practicing periodontist, Cummings relies heavily on referrals from general practitioners. While he maintained a great relationship with local dentists, he found that they didn’t always know the full scope of work he could do or recognize all of the periodontal issues their patients might have. He also realized that he needed to learn how to better communicate his findings with the general practitioners, a way for them all to speak the same clinical language and work off of the same practice philosophy.
Two years ago, Cummings’ search led him to Spear Study Club.
The Spear Difference
Now in its second year, Cumming's Study Club still has 10 of the club’s original 12 members. He attributes that retention to the Spear practice philosophy as well as the sheer volume of education available.
“Many of my members also belong to another study club, and they really like the Spear model because it’s more interactive, hands-on, and we discuss real cases,” Cummings said. “I’m surprised at how thorough it is - the depth of information they have to offer is kind of ridiculous."
“It’s true study, and they feel comfortable discussing practice issues, patient care, etc.,” he added.
In fact, Cummings said that improved patient care is one of the most satisfying outcomes of the club. Members refer more comprehensive cases to his practice, which has improved the quality of care in the local community.
Cummings also added that the Study Club has been financially rewarding, too. The trust and communication built through the club, as well as the shared practice philosophy, has led to Cummings receiving extra cases and additional procedures.
“My members were already good referrers when we started, but now I’m seeing their cases get more complex as their patients are treated more comprehensively,” he explained.
Extra Cases, More Procedures … and a Second Club
Besides so many immediate benefits, Cummings said he was also surprised at how easy it is to run his club – even when meeting 10 times a year for two to three hours each time.
"Sometimes we go over, because people are so engaged in the discussions,” Cummings said. “The meetings have gotten fun.”
In addition to the actual meeting time, he says he spends half an hour to an hour maximum each month reviewing the material and organizing food.
The hardest part is deciding on the food,” Cummings joked “It’s pretty effortless, actually.”
He has found his Spear Study Club so rewarding and so effortless, in fact, that he now plans to start a second club. This club will be focused entirely on comprehensive treatment planning.
“Spear Study Club has definitely improved relationships with my referring members, and it’s made me a better boss," Cummings said. “I would recommend it to any dental professional.”â