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What is a 'Customer Information File (CIF)'

A customer information file (CIF) is a file, either electronic or physical, that stores all pertinent information about a customer's personal and account information. The customer information file (CIF) allows the business to view its customer accounts by relationship and not strictly by account type. For example, information such as credit relationships, account ownership information and accounts owned are included.

BREAKING DOWN 'Customer Information File (CIF)'

The CIF records such information as a customer's vital statistics, account balances and transactions, and types of accounts held. It is updated as often as daily to ensure accuracy. The CIF is also used to cross-sell various products and services to customers, and to assist in other administrative functions.

CIFs provide the business with a summary of all of the activities associated with a particular customer. More commonly held in an electronic format today, a CIF can also be a paper folder holding relevant documents. It functions as a central point for examining customer data without having to look up each account or transaction individually.

In the case of commercial banking, it provides information regarding the products currently in use by a customer. It may also show information regarding any previous inquiries, to help provide targeted information for the purpose of upselling.

Customer Information Files and Personally Identifiable Information

A CIF often contains personally identifiable information (PII). This can include the customer’s name, address and phone number, for the purposes of fulfilling purchases. It can also include additional information such as a person's birth date and Social Security number, which is more often required in banking or in circumstances in which credit is relevant. Further information, such as race and gender, may also be included if the information is available.

Any business or entity that records certain customer information is required to disclose how it is collected and how it will be used. Additionally, it is required to take certain minimum steps to protect the data from accidental or forced exposure by unauthorized parties.

Customer Information Files and Marketing

In marketing, a CIF provides relevant information on a current or potential customer. With online retailers, the file may include information on previous product searches, previously viewed products, or any purchases. This helps the business determine other items that might interest the customer, to solicit new or additional sales.

Service providers also maintain CIFs for the purpose of future marketing. This can include notices to a consumer about services the consumer uses at specific intervals, such as vehicle maintenance or landscaping services. By gathering information on when a service was last used, the company can anticipate when the customer may need it next, and can send a reminder.

1. What sort of environment (hypertonic, isotonic, hypotonic) does consuming excessive amounts of pure water create in the body fluid that surrounds your cells? What effect would this have on your cells?

– A hypotonic environment would be created in the body fluid, as there would be a lower concentration of solutes outside of the cell than inside the cell. This would create the effect of water entering the cells at an abnormal rate, and the cells, eventually, would burst.

2. What types of symptoms did Jennifer, Cassandra, and James have in common? Which organ or tissue seems to have been most affected?

– Dizziness and headaches were symptoms in common with Jennifer and James. It could be assumed that Cassandra had similar symptoms, as there was swelling of the brain found during autopsy. The brain seems to be the tissue most affected by such conditions.

3. Keeping in mind your answers to questions 1 and 2, what do you think the immediate cause of death was for Jennifer, Cassandra, and James?

– Swelling of the brain, and bursting of the cells within was the most likely cause of death.

4. If you suspected that a patient’s symptoms were caused by the condition suffered by Jennifer, Cassandra, and James, what kinds of test would you run to confirm your suspicions?

– Tests should be run to see how much sodium is in the body, available for use. Electrolyte tests should give an idea of the concentration of salts.

5. Once you knew the cause of their symptoms, what kind of emergency treatment might you try for a patient like Cassandra or James if you were the doctor in charge of their care?

– Emergency treatment could involve a highly concentrated salt solution, some sort of dehydrator to bring the tonicity back to an isotonic one.

6. Why do you think doctors administer a saline solution instead of pure water to dehydrated patients?

– If pure water were used, the body’s solution would be too low in salt concentration.

Part II – Facts about Hyponatremia
1. During periods of intense activity, your body releases an antidiuretic hormone called ADH or vasopressin that causes the body to retain water (by decreasing the amount of water that is expelled in urine). Why does this make endurance athletes particularly vulnerable to developing hyponatremia?

– Endurance athletes are particularly vulnerable because over the extended period of time they are not taking in salt, only water. This creates the hypotonic environment outside the cells because of the salt concentration differential.

2. What might put desert-dwellers in danger of developing hyponatremia? How can they avoid this danger?

– Desert dwellers could potentially continue drinking water without ingesting enough sodium to keep the fluid around cells isotonic. Eating food with plenty of sodium or by adding salt to food so as to retain water.

3. Babies and small children are at much greater risk for developing hyponatremia than adults. Why is this?

– This is because they have less cells in general, and their bodies aren’t able to take as much damage.

4. Just how much brain swelling are we talking about? The volume of a human brain is normally about 1,200cm3. The concentration of solutes in the cerebrospinal fluid (the fluid that surrounds the brain and other parts of the central nervous system) is normally about 300mM. a. Normally, what is the concentration of solutes in your brain cells? Please explain your reasoning. b. If the concentration of solutes in the cerebrospinal fluid fell to 280mM due to overconsumption of water and loss of electrolytes through sweating, what would happen? c. Estimate how much the brain would swell due to osmosis if the concentration of the cerebrospinal fluid fell to 280mM.

In other words, find what the new volume of the brain would be once equilibrium was reestablished. Assume that (i) the cerebrospinal fluid is constantly replenished, so its solute concentration won’t change; (ii) only water is passing across the cell membranes into brain cells (not solutes); and (iii) the volume of the brain is mostly water. a. An isotonic concentration is necessary for proper cell operation, so the cerebrospinal fluid would be best as one. 300 mm would work best. b. Dizziness would occur perhaps with a headache, maybe nausea as well. The cells would be swelling due to the hypotonicity of the cerebrospinal fluid, compared to the environment within the cells.