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You could use script triggers to cause a commit every time data is changed in the field.
This could be a pain because you will have to understand the trigger sequences, the field level validation functionality, and consider rendering to the layout.
Learning is good however.
When the cursor is in a field the entire record your on is in a locked state.
Changes to the data in the field are not saved to the database until you perform some action that causes a commit.
A summary field get its data from the committed data.
Here are the actions that cause a commit