In last six years of my experience with WordPress and BuddyPress development works, I have developed and automated varieties field of business and services with WordPress. One of the common cases is heath care service and health care community.
If you are doctor, or related with community health care service, you can think of automation of your business/service. Typical use case for doctors, or private hospitals is, Patients needs to make appointment with doctors, and paying them. Doctors also needs to keep record of patients. This whole thing can be made easily as an automated web service. Here is how you can do that.
# First thing first, you’ll need solid application platform to develop this service. WordPress can be one of the best solution, Its more than a CMS. additionally, With BuddyPress, it is the perfect solution. WordPress provides user management system with blog engine (which is not needed for this case), and BuddyPress provides social networking features like creating user profile, interacting with each other, also much more. See detail features of BuddyPress from its official website.
# Obviously this application requires different member types, This is the most important thing. In this case, for a hospital, user types can be Doctor, Patient, Admin Stuff. Each of those member types require different types of profile as well. So, assuming you have already have WordPress and BuddyPress installed, next thing you will need is BuddyPress Member Type Manager Plugin which will allow you to create and manage those member types easily. you can create any number of member types according to your need. This plugin will also allow you to create different BuddyPress user profile fields for each type of members, and also, different registration pages based on member type. If you want more flexibility on access control of different parts/pages/sections of the site, based on member type, this plugin has API for that, few simple tweaks will allow you to do that. Feel free to contact me if you need suggestion on this or have questions
# So, now we have doctors, patients, admin stuff members, with registration, login, profile creating and these types of common features. next thing we will need to make appointment system, for doctors and patients. It should work like, patients can see doctors calendar and schedule, they can pick a slot from free schedule and confirming that by paying for that slot. Doctors or Admin stuff on other hand can confirm the appointment after confirming payment (or may be payment can be made later). To do all of those, Here is another awesome plugin, Appointments+ which will allow you to do all of those in just few clicks. All you need to install and configure it. It has also integrated payment gateway, so patients can pay online using paypal or cards. quite easy right?
# So far, with just those 3 plugins included BuddyPress, you have already basic system ready. However, you might want to do administration works also in the system. like, record keeping, document management. Patient treatment history etc. There are tons of BuddyPress plugins to do these kind of works. Like, for document management, you can use BuddyPress Docs plugin which will allow you to have documents in user profile.
# Other additional features you might want is, making communication with patients and doctors online. BuddyPress has already internal message system for that. Also, doctors might want discussion board with other doctors, BuddyPress provides users to create groups, so you can use that for discussion.
# Most important part is, allowing access of certain parts of whole system depending on member type. Like, Discussion board is needed for doctors but nor for patients. So, system has to disable/hide this section for patients. Similarly, there could be other parts as well which will require access management based on member type. Unfortunately, There’s no complete plugin to do this job for now, but as I mentioned before, this whole thing is based on Member Types, and BuddyPress Member Type Manager has API to provide logged in user information. So may be bit customization will require if you want that much flexibility. However, I am working on this. Hopefully I will able to release a complete plugin to do access management for BuddyPress components.
In addition, Both WordPress and BuddyPress has REST API, which means, if you decide later to build mobile apps which will synchronize data with the web app, its quite easy!
I hope the article will be helpful for those who are thinking or planning to launch this kind of service. Let me know in comment section or contact page what do you think about the article, or what more feature you may like to have in this kind of service.