Medical insurance has been using tiered systems to provide care to patients for some time. A tiered system categorizes physicians by quality and cost efficiency standards. While the patient chooses their provider, the patient's copay may vary based upon the provider tier that is chosen. Insurance companies can reimburse different tiers on different fee schedules potentially allowing network providers with better outcomes higher reimbursements. An example of medical insurance tiered system:

Providers meet excellent quality and/or cost efficiency standards
Members pay the lowest copayment
Providers meet good quality and/or cost efficiency standards
Members pay the mid-level copayment
Providers who are outside the insurance network
Members pay the highest copayment

As you know, trends in dentistry typically follow trends in medicine. While the tiered provider system is not yet here for dentistry, the concept of evaluating the quality of dental care has been on the horizon for some time, and will shortly be utilized by major dental insurers. How will this work?

A leader in this type of data analytics is P&R Dental Strategies. They have developed a unique, objective, quality measurement program for dentists. Their methodology, called DentaQual, leverages a nationwide, multi-payer dental claims database (DentaBase) to measure quality by analyzing cross-payer claims and dentist utilization data. Quality is measured based on metrics scored in each of 5 categories.