Keeping client records safely locked up and confidential is easy in the office locking cabinet; but, when I am on the road, I do not feel confident leaving files in a locking briefcase/suitcase. What are the ramifications if the vehicle were stolen? I need to do my homework; but, would greatly appreciate knowing what works well for my experienced colleagues. Thank you for the help.
I’m old school when it comes to many things :-). In a few words, I keep all of my clients’ information in my laptop (which always stays home when I go to train clients), I have all of my clients’ cell numbers in phone (no other information) in case I need to get in contact with them and I also keep a copy of their information in a file cabinet at my home (in case something happens to my laptop) as a back up.
You can limit the mobile files to clients which you are currently working or that you need immediate access to, and limit client information to only that which is pertinent to training. You shouldn’t need to have immediate access to client financial information (such as credit card numbers, etc) or other account numbers (medical records, etc). I would not recommend keeping any client information which is not necessary, even at home or your business.
My solution is an unconventional idea but it eliminates the need to even lock up any files while you are on the road. You’ll be golden! 🙂 Have your client come up with a fun and fictitious nickname which you write on all their forms. Keep original forms at home and then create a copy blacking out any identifying information except this fictitious name and use that as a reference when reviewing their files on the road.
This way you have only what is necessary and the only identifying information for any particular client and associated forms is their fictitious nickname. You can then record contact information in your phone and download a notepad application where you can have coded access; this to reference nicknames so you don’t get two clients confused and any other private information you need can be password protected as well.
I would only take the information needed for the training session, as this will reduce the chance of any major pieces of information getting lost or stolen. You could write down a few important pieces of information either on your laptop or paper, and use initials instead of full names when you travel.
Hope this helps.
So this is what I do and what works for me. I keep them all with me. I have the files electronically loaded and synced from my laptop to my ipad. And in case something should happen to my ipad (you never know), I have back up paper files. Those paper files stay with me in the front pocket of my traveling suitcase which I use to carry things in and out of clients homes. My suitcase is never out of my sight or the area we’re working. The front pocket is kept shut, and I have the client folder I’m working with at that moment out before hand, as I had usually referred to it quickly before entering their house.
They never see the other folders and yet the other folders have never left my possession. In the last 2 years since using the ipad for client files and sessions, I have not had to use my paper folders at client sessions.
Hope that offers some ideas.
As an in-home trainer as well, I agree with the others. Why take sensitive client files on the road? Leave that information stored safely at home or wherever you keep them and take only the information that you need for that particular training session with you.