My grandmother lived with my family in my parents’ home in Connecticut before I was born until she passed away in 1997 when I was 9 years old. Her parents immigrated from Sweden to the United States in the early 1900s. If you have any Swedish lineage, you might suspect that she was raised to know her way around the kitchen when it came to delicious baked goods. My mother held on to her recipes that were stored in an ornate wooden box. The recipes were handwritten, in cursive of course, on notecards in pen or pencil.
My mother came across a recipe for Toscakaka, which is an almond cake with caramel almonds. (Are you drooling yet?) Of course, the recipe was written in the aforementioned cursive, in pencil and the instructions on the notecard said to preheat the oven to 350 degrees and “bake until done.” No mention of how long this might take—20 minutes? 30 minutes? 45 minutes? If you’ve ever baked, you know that it is imperative that a recipe has a window of time to check to see if your cake, cookie, or pastry is complete, or nearing completion.
In my grandmother’s case, I’m sure she knew how long to bake the cake for and didn’t realize the instructions she was leaving her family were confusing. I’m guessing she also didn’t anticipate that this incident would become a long-running family inside joke that still makes us laugh today. (What were we supposed to do? Put a chair right next to the oven and peek through the window for who knows how long?!)
But in the case of manufacturer’s instructions for use (IFU) for sterile processing (SP) professionals, “bake until done” doesn’t cut it.
I’ve received several requests and suggestions from our readers that Healthcare Purchasing News should be producing more IFU content online and in print. And it is no wonder why I’ve received these messages—the lack of standard IFU format and terminology and confusing or incomplete information only adds to the pressures SP departments are facing. This month, we’re featuring an article on the SP community’s “IFU wish list” and present a top 5 list of most requested improvements. You can read it on page 18.
Now, in case you are wondering, Toscakaka needs to be baked for 35-45 minutes until the top is light golden brown and a cake tester inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.