The US Patent and Trademark Office recently stated in a press release that their accelerated patent application review process is working. Obviously, this has to be good news for helping to manage the massive number of patent applications that are received each year by the USPTO. Putting some of the responsibility of the prior art search explicitly in the court of the applicant is probably a good way to do this. Most places already do a somewhat extensive prior art search in constructing their patents anyhow.
I do have some concerns. Chief among those is the simple fact that faster patent application reviews have important implications to future patent reforms that would allow the US to switch from a First-to-Invent standard to a First-to-File standard, which most of the world already follows. If there are two tracks for filing for a patent and one requires more work prior to filing, then it would seemingly be advantageous to file with the slower application review that requires less work prior to filing.
Another concern I have is that explicitly adding to the work that an applicant must do to use the faster filing process likely adds directly to the cost to the inventor to file. Patents are not inexpensive as they are now. Making applicants responsible for prior art searches would mean that patent lawyers can ask for even more money. This could squeeze smaller companies who depend greatly on getting a few key patents granted.