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Refine the clinical skills that are essential to generate more consistently predictable patient outcomes while strengthening your interdisciplinary network with Spear Study Club.

Members like Dr. Janette Larsen who experience the hands-on, small-group learning dynamic and integrated curriculum with topics for the entire team report feeling a stronger cohesion between team members — especially on more complex cases.

Dr. Larsen, a former U.S. Navy dentist, launched a Spear Study Club seven years ago and now hosts 10 meetings per year.

“I started my study club with the goal of getting doctors together to unite us in an interdisciplinary treatment planning approach to dentistry,” said Dr. Larsen, who has practiced for 27 years in the scenic seaside Point Loma neighborhood of San Diego, California.

“It’s all about helping one another,” she said. “Establishing a safe environment has fostered engagement and collaboration on actual cases during club meetings.”

Small-group learning

Spear’s small-group study club dynamic provides an intimate, supportive environment for general practitioners and specialists to collaborate on real-life cases.

Clubs can include anywhere from 8-10 members to upward of 16 based on the specific needs of the club leader and clinicians in their community. But many traditional dental study clubs include up to 70 or more members.

Students who learn in small groups retain more information and perform better on exams than those who learn solely in lecture-based settings, according to a study in the Anaesthesia and Intensive Care journal.

As the leader of her club, Dr. Larsen has worked hard to establish an environment where members feel safe asking questions and learning how their peers practice. She said her club’s doctors have elevated their level of expertise and relationships have flourished.

“Patients receive better treatment because doctors are aligned in their approach,” said Dr. Larsen, a solo practitioner who has completed more than 500 hours of continuing education over the past five years.

“Plus, with the confidence they receive from working on cases together, doctors have broadened their clinical reach and are confidently treating more high-value cases,” she said.

Spear Online, Patient Education resources and campus seminar

Small-group study works best when it augments traditional lectures and online lessons, as noted in Spear’s latest white paper, “The Transformative Nature of Small-Group Learning in Dental Study Clubs.”

When you join Study Club, you gain access to Spear Online, which includes more than 1,500 lessons, staff training tools, team meeting resources and Patient Education videos.

Club members refer to recommended curricula, study club modules and other material developed by Spear faculty to support their club discussions. They also attend an energizing two-day Spear Seminar together in Scottsdale, Arizona, which aligns the group on key clinical lessons and steps to improve interdisciplinary case flow at home.

Dr. Larsen said the Patient Education tablet app and lobby videos have helped her communicate more effectively with patients who often need to visualize their conditions and treatment options.

A recent survey showed that 91% of patients who viewed Patient Education overview condition videos said they felt more prepared to accept treatment.

“Patients respond well to the videos,” Dr. Larsen said. “They help to highlight the importance of treatment and show patients what could happen should they choose not to move forward.”

She added that patients feel more empowered as participants in the clinical process when they receive easy-to-digest information via email, text message or custom printouts.