Mr. Diebold (pronounced DEE-bold) made a career of recognizing relevant advances in technology and explaining them to the likes of A.T. & T., Boeing, Xerox and I.B.M. Through books, speeches and his international consulting firm, Mr. Diebold persuaded major corporations to automate their assembly lines, store their records electronically and install interoffice computer networks.
In 1961 he and his firm, the Diebold Group, designed an electronic network to link account records at the Bowery Savings Bank in New York. Rather than being updated after hours, the records immediately reflected both deposits and withdrawals and were available to any teller. Customers could then bank at any branch and at any window.
Another data network eliminated much of Baylor University Hospital’s paperwork in departments like accounting, inventory, payroll and purchasing. More important to Mr. Diebold, the system made medical records and statistics available to researchers in electronic form, permitting studies that were otherwise too daunting. The American Hospital Association embraced the project, and hundreds of other institutions created data systems modeled on it.