In a 5-2 decision on March 23, 2016, the Supreme Court of Ohio ruled that under state law, a patient’s medical record consists of all data that is generated in the process of the patient’s health care treatment and pertains to the patient’s medical history, diagnosis, prognosis or medical condition that the health care provider decides to keep. The medical record is not limited to the data maintained by the provider’s medical records department. The physical location of where the data is stored does not determine if the data qualifies as a medical record. Instead, the focus is whether a health care provider made a decision to keep or preserve the data.

The majority opinion, authored by Justice Sharon L. Kennedy, reverses a Fifth District Court of Appeals decision holding that a patient’s medical record consists of only information maintained by Aultman Hospital’s medical records department. The case, Griffith v. Aultman Hospital, concerned whether a patient’s medical record included cardiac monitoring strips maintained by the hospital’s risk management department, as opposed to its medical records department. Justices O’Donnell and Lanzinger dissented.