Making Modernization Metrics Matter

Monitoring and evaluation changes are delivering a more unified view of progress

wooden blocks showing progress over time

The Data Modernization Initiative currently supports more than 150 individual activities that are taking place in every part of CDC and with our external partners. This fast-paced work involves many different systems – large and small – with data on all kinds of diseases and conditions. It tackles everything from emergency response to everyday disease surveillance to partnerships, policies, innovation, governance, staffing, and training.

It’s a tremendous amount of work.

So how do we take all these different activities and measure progress in a way that’s consistent and usable? How do we compare where we are now as an agency to where we were before? And how do we make sure we’re all heading in the right direction, and in the right ways?

The answer lies in our process for monitoring and evaluation.

Why monitoring progress matters

Monitoring and evaluation are how we make sure we are delivering on the promise of data to protect America’s health.

Measuring progress is not just about what we think we need to know, but also about understanding the value of our work, and ensuring we can answer timely and relevant questions in a rapidly changing environment.

It is important to remember that our purpose is not just to prove, but to improve. That means that, while we want to ensure accountability for our investments, we also want to work toward continuous improvement in how we execute DMI. By building a strong framework, we can support DMI’s success every step of the way.

Moving the dial

As DMI continues to grow, so do the ways in which we track our progress and success.

For example, every DMI project falls under one of five main DMI priorities. In early 2022, CDC’s data modernization teams worked to develop specific and measurable Objectives and Key Results (OKRs) for each of these priorities, enabling the results of our modernization efforts to be combined throughout the agency.

In late 2022, CDC Moving Forward began to take shape, and with it, changes to DMI. Anticipating the transition to a new organization, we continued to develop an outcome-based approach to managing and measuring activity.

By tracking common metrics in critical areas across all projects and programs involved in DMI, we can begin to get a birds-eye view of what’s happening. We will also be able to see what’s working well and where we can offer additional assistance. In addition to these shared measures, each DMI project is tracking their own set of metrics and measures, which will also be captured as we monitor and evaluate our progress.

The future vision

The future aspiration is to bring together CDC data and information in ways that will fuel our ability to understand progress in near real-time. We aim to create an easily digestible framework that can offer insights into:

  • Key metrics and business innovation
  • A centralized view of essential metrics and measures
  • Agency-wide operational and financial information

As part of this effort, we are building a centrally accessible data and information product that will span all DMI operations and functions to support data-driven decisions. This future Info Hub will include all the metrics and information we gather through monitoring and evaluation, as well as data from other DMI-related systems.

By linking to source data, the Info Hub will give us a new ability to drill down and better understand the flow of data and information across all our modernization work.

DMI monitoring and evaluation model

DMI Monitoring and Evaluation Conceptual Model. Accessible version is available at