Biomedical physics and medical professionals: harmony or dissonance in study quality Improvement?
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Following independence, Lithuania introduced changes into the health care and higher education sectors, in order to improve the quality of medical studies in the European context. While new subjects were added to the medical curriculum, the time available for assimilating the necessary physics knowledge was also radically reduced. This situation raises important questions about the place of biomedical physics in the medical curriculum. This paper examines the point of view of medical professionals as regards biomedical physics. 309 medical professionals throughout Lithuania responded to a qualitative and quantitative survey targeting the importance that biomedical physics has for them in their practice, their opinion as to the need to give greater attention to biomedical physics in medical curricula, and the ways in which they consider curricula and courses could be improved. Qualitative data was also collected from focus group discussions and from interviews with 18 medical and physics experts. The results revealed widely differing perceptions among respondents as to the importance of biomedical physics in medicine and a considerable convergence of views as to future directions for biomedical physics in the medical curriculum. They identified those areas of physics of greatest interest to the medical professionals and the most appropriate teaching and learning methods for medical students and professionals. The need to design biomedical physics courses adapted to different levels of medical professionals, especially residents, combining traditional pedagogical methods with distance education techniques based on modular structures is also identified.