The Institute of Medicine's Forum on the Science of Health Care Quality Improvement and Implementation held a workshop on January 16, 2007, in Washington, DC. The workshop had its roots in an earlier forum meeting when forum members discussed what is meant by the terms quality improvement and implementation science and became convinced that they mean different things to different people. At the time, the members also discussed the need to identify barriers to quality improvement research and to implementation science. Thus the purpose of this workshop was to bring people together from various arenas to discuss what quality improvement is, and what barriers exist in the health care industry to quality improvement and also to research about quality improvement. The summary that ensues is thus limited to the presentations and discussions during the workshop itself. We realize that there is a broader scope of issues pertaining to this subject area but are unable to address them in this summary document. The workshop's first session was devoted to experiences that various institutions have had with quality improvement. Recognizing the wealth of experiences available outside of health care services, the workshop included presenters from outside the health care service industry as well as from inside. This includes discussions from a variety of perspectives: non-health care services, health plans, hospitals, and nursing. Advancing Quality Improvement Research: Challenges and opportunities - Workshop Summary describes the events of the workshop.