As the science of quality improvement in health care advances, the importance of sharing its accomplishments through the published literature increases. Current reporting of improvement work in health care varies widely in both content and quality. It is against this backdrop that a group of stakeholders from a variety of disciplines has created the Standards for QUality Improvement Reporting Excellence, which we refer to as the SQUIRE publication guidelines or SQUIRE statement. The SQUIRE statement consists of a checklist of 19 items that authors need to consider when writing articles that describe formal studies of quality improvement. Most of the items in the checklist are common to all scientific reporting, but virtually all of them have been modified to reflect the unique nature of medical improvement work. This "Explanation and Elaboration" document (E & E) is a companion to the SQUIRE statement. For each item in the SQUIRE guidelines the E & E document provides one or two examples from the published improvement literature, followed by an analysis of the ways in which the example expresses the intent of the guideline item. As with the E & E documents created to accompany other biomedical publication guidelines, the purpose of the SQUIRE E & E document is to assist authors along the path from completion of a quality improvement project to its publication. The SQUIRE statement itself, this E & E document, and additional information about reporting improvement work can be found at http://www.squire-statement.org.