Medical physics is an academic field that applies the knowledge and achievements of physical engineering to medicine.
What makes medical physics different from other fields of physics is its contribution to medicine and healthcare.
Medical physics may be classified into several sub-fields as follows
- Physics that conduces human health by developing medical devices, for example, X-ray imaging machine, CT, MRI, and ultrasonic diagnostic equipment, improving image quality, and managing exposure dose and image quality (Diagnostic physics).
- Physics that conduces to human health by getting involved in nuclear medicine which includes using radioisotope to diagnose and treat diseases, developing equipment, improving image quality, managing exposure dose and image quality (Nuclear medicine physics)
- Physics that conduces to human health by developing and quality assurance/ control of medical devices using in radiotherapy, hyperthermia and high-intensity focused ultrasound, optimizing physical dose distribution to curb side effects and control cancer. (Therapeutic physics).
- Physics that conduces to human health by minimizing the damage of radiation during medical use (Radiation protection/safety management).
- Physics that conduces to human health by developing radiation dosimetric methods, researching the physical and chemical initial processes of the biological effect, developing processing methods for the improvement of image quality and optimization of radiotherapy. (Basic medical physics).
In addition to the above, medical physics also conduces to human health proactively by applying physics methods to help the development of diagnosis and treatment.
Radiation has come to be used in medicine and played a major role. On this premise, medical physics has been established with the adoption of physical engineering.
From the discovery and the medical use of the X-rays, the development of CT machine, MRI machine, PET machine, accelerators for radiotherapy, and research and development in pursuit of higher precision are all based on medical physics.
For example, computed tomography was invented around 1970, and up to now, 40 years later, the research and development are still carried out for pursuing higher accuracy. And the images that have been achieved to date are impressive. For radiotherapy, the newly developed accelerators for X-ray radiotherapy and particle radiotherapy achieved to concentrate dose to the target area with high accuracy in recent years.
The development will keep going under the support of medical physics.
The field of medical physics is broad, from the development of equipment to consideration and management of its usage, and physical evaluation of clinical results, and it will become more important for the development of medicine and healthcare.
After the consultation with the president of the JSMP, the education committee of JSMP has been devoting its efforts to discuss “what is medical physics” and submitted the report to the Board of Directions of JSMP. The Board of Directors has decided that the attachment “what is medical physics?” on May 20, 2010, as the opinion of JSMP after deliberation.