Introduction: This study describes the work of healthcare quality professionals during the COVID-19 pandemic, highlighting the successes and challenges they faced when applying their expertise in performance and process improvement (PPI) to help manage the crisis.

Methods: The researchers performed a descriptive analysis of anonymous survey data collected from members of the National Association for Healthcare Quality professional community who were asked about their improvement work during the pandemic response.

Results: Most survey respondents used improvement methods to a great or moderate extent to measure what was happening (83%), rapidly review processes and practice (81%), and decide where to focus effort (81%). Fewer respondents used PPI methods to engage with patients and families (58% to a great or moderate extent). Looking to the future, respondents indicated that embedding systematic approaches to improvement within healthcare organizations (59%) and working in a more integrated way across teams (48%) should be prioritized in the post-pandemic recovery.

Conclusions: The results from this study demonstrate why healthcare leaders should recognize the value that performance improvement approaches provide to everyday operations. They must empower PPI experts to lead this critical work and continue building workforce capacity in PPI methods to strengthen staff engagement and achieve better outcomes.