On more than one occasion I’ve been heard to say “just because you can, doesn’t mean you should” – consider the scenario of an unconscious (and anonymous) patient who has a mobile phone that you could unlock with a press of their thumbprint.
I think the law of necessity would probably be the relevant principle to rely on in Australia –
perhaps Michael Eburn from the Australian Emergency Law blog would provide some commentary ? provides his view in the comments section below.
(and please encourage your patients to use the ‘Emergency ID’ feature of most modern mobile phones)
TLDR; Every situation is different – consider your patient’s expectation of confidentiality and the need to access this information pre-hospital if you’re going to do it.