Building a unified digital community using WordPress and a mobile app 

The Australian Doctor Group is Australia’s premier community connecting GPs with the pharmaceutical industry. With 60,000+ members, the group wanted to transform its AusDoc platform from a website/newsletter offering into an advanced multi-channel community.

Since relaunching, the new AusDoc site has seen a ~50% increase in both doctor-to-doctor and doctor-to-pharma interactions.

The Challenge

Wrangling a complex infrastructure to evolve the business and unlock new commercial opportunities

AusDoc operates a fully gated online community with over 60,000 members and multiple levels of content access. In order to deliver personalised digital experiences, the business relies on complex integrations with data warehouses, middleware and advanced analytics tools like Snowplow. 

Held back by its existing Drupal platform which was unable to integrate with the AusDoc mobile app, the in-house team was forced to maintain two separate systems.

AusDoc needed to find a tech partner that understood:

  • The intricacies and risks of such a complex data migration 
  • How to customise a mobile app and integrate with WordPress

“The Code Company is unlike any other agency I’ve ever worked with. The level of understanding, problem solving and proactivity went way beyond our expectations.

I recommend them 100%”

Geo Jose,  Head of Technology Australian Doctor Group

The Solution

A unified digital community using WordPress and BuddyBoss

Before any app development could occur, we migrated AusDoc’s database and 40,000 articles from Drupal to WordPress and built custom registration processes (using Gravity Forms) for the 5 unique membership tiers.

This involved building an integration with the APHRA database to:

  • Validate users’ medical registration status
  • Autofill registration forms and dynamically generate new fields as required
  • Build user profiles and assign the relevant levels of content access

Performance optimisation and object caching

Due to the high volume of function calls and requests made by BuddyBoss, our team meticulously screened every plugin prior to deployment to determine its potential impact on performance.

Unlike traditional publishing websites, AusDoc is a multi-channel community that delivers highly personalised content, which means standard page caching via CloudFlare/GES isn’t viable. 

So we moved AusDoc to hosting partner WP Engine who produced a custom implementation of the platform’s object caching system.


“We wanted to move beyond publishing and build communities but Drupal’s plugin marketplace is limited.

We considered going headless but you end up paying for a much larger team to maintain a much more complex solution. So moving to WordPress opened up a lot of opportunities for us.”

Geo Jose,  Head of Technology Australian Doctor Group

User-initiated engagement

AusDoc’s goal was to make it easier for GPs to gain information about new medications.

We built an intelligent WordPress feature (Access.Rx) that prompts doctors to request further information while reading articles, and allows them to schedule appointments with local pharma representatives.


Deep customisation of REST API in WordPress

AusDoc chose WordPress plugin BuddyBoss to create a unified platform for both the WordPress-powered website and mobile application.

However, BuddyBoss had not been “battle tested” with commercial publishing communities of this size and required major customisation in order to perform at scale.

The Code Company worked directly with the BuddyBoss development team to extend the mobile application via a custom development repository with React Native. Our engineers were able to identify issues, propose patches and drive the development of new hooks that allow commercialisation assets to appear in the news feed. 

This code was compiled and bundled in with the BuddyBoss mobile application for both iOS and Android to unlock new app functionality which:

  • Integrated promoted/sponsored content and ad spots from the website into the app
  • Implemented event tracking and analytics systems to facilitate monetisation across the app
  • Allowed doctors to schedule appointments with sales reps

“Because all of our content is gated and personalised, caching was very important. The Code Company did a really good job identifying a custom solution as part of their performance optimisation work”

Geo Jose,  Head of Technology Australian Doctor Group

Intelligent newsletter content gating

AusDoc’s main traffic source comes for a range of custom newsletters sent multiple times each day to a unique list of subscribed doctors.

Each user segment receives an email with links to specific gated content, which automatically logs them into the correct section of the site. We implemented extra controls, enabling the in-house team to promote exclusive content to otherwise restricted segments. 

AusDoc mobile site