The report that Apple will develop applications to download access of our personal electronic medical record to our personal smart phones (Apple, in Sign of Health Ambitions, Adds Medical Records Feature for iPhone, NY Times) could be transformational for medical care, our sense of medical wellbeing, and for innovations in medical research. HIPAA (Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA) of 1996) is an incredible logistic barrier to medical research. The well-intended privacy protections of HIPAA fly in the face of the need to aggregate information for individual and collective benefit.
To download, review and share our own medical record implies the ability to share this information with medical researchers. This could be a watershed for the field of medical informatics, and practice-changing for cancer patients: EMR data sharing for cancer genetic patterns; EMR sharing for benefits and toxicities of new cancer treatments; use of EMR data sharing to understand the value of new treatments that could allow the FDA to approve and review new cancer drugs more quickly and reduce drug costs; and EMR data sharing to assemble patterns of cancer care, quality and prevention will improve coordination and reduce errors. All of these from the simple and logical conclusion on the part of Apple to make our medical record available for research - through us!