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Standards pioneer, ADA volunteer dies

May 06, 2016

By Michelle Manchir

Dr. Diehl
Dr. Mark Diehl, a longtime ADA volunteer credited as a pioneer of dental informatics, died April 18 after an illness. He was 70.

Dr. Diehl "was involved in dental informatics since the initiation of the discipline," said Sharon Stanford, director of Standards for the ADA Center for Informatics and Standards, in an email informing the ADA Standards Committee on Dental Informatics about Dr. Diehl's passing.

"He unselfishly devoted his efforts to the development of open consensus standards not only for dentistry, but also for medical and all associated areas of health informatics," said Ms. Stanford.  "He tirelessly worked on behalf of organized dentistry to assure that the voice of the American Dental Association was heard in various national and international standards development organizations. "

After attending dental school at Temple University, Dr. Diehl served as a Navy dental officer for 23 years, his family said. He served as an information technology executive and deputy program manager of a major Department of Defense health affairs clinical system.

Following naval service, Dr. Diehl, of Rensselaer, New York, served as director of information technology for a nonprofit pharmaceutical standards organization.  He went on to work in other information management, health data architecture and consulting positions.

With the ADA, Dr. Diehl served on the Standards Committee on Dental Informatics for more than 24 years, chairing its subcommittee on electronic health records and other prominent working groups. He is credited with spearheading work on several valuable standards, including ANSI/ADA Standard No. 1000, Standard Clinical Data Architecture and ANSI/ADA Standard No. 1067, Electronic Dental Record System Standard Functional Requirements.

In 2009, Dr. Diehl was recognized with the ADA Standards Committee on Dental Informatics' volunteer of the year award. Dr. Greg Zeller, the committee's current chair, nominated him for the award.

"Dr. Diehl was a visionary and a brilliant theorist in medical and dental informatics," Dr. Zeller told the ADA News after Dr. Diehl's passing. "His early work to develop a data structure for medical and dental electronic health records is more valid today than ever before. His latest work focused on implementing functional models that supported providers and patients for electronic health record implementations. His insights, charm, mentoring and tireless persistence will be missed by all."

A memorial service is scheduled to be held at Egypt Cemetery in Whitehall, Pennsylvania, on May 21. Dr. Diehl's family has asked any donation be made to the ADA Foundation in support of oral health research at the Dr. Anthony Volpe Research Center. Visit ADAFoundation.org to donate.