Here at Colony, we’re driven by an imagination of a future of work that is more efficient, equitable and effective than the status quo. We’re excited by those thinking the same way, especially when they come from fields that are quite far removed from Web3 and blockchain protocols. We were impressed recently by this novel approach to using Colony for lab applications.

Assessing Blockchain Potential in Healthcare Project Management through the Colony dApp

No matter the industry, there are a lot of us committed to building a better future of work, and it’s impressive how researchers from various fields have explored using Colony for their own applications.

Decentralizing Lab Work

A research team from Northwestern University, comprised of Tony Luo, Rushmin Khazanchi, Gilberto Guadiana and Sung Won Lee developed a project which explored applying blockchain technologies, specifically Colony, to healthcare. Here, they sought to explore how Colony could decentralize clinical lab management. They were curious if decentralized project management could give project teams more agency and agility in their work. while maintaining compliance. The team found that the average lab team uses 27 different pieces of software to maintain compliance, leading to considerable time delays and operational inefficiencies. Could Colony help teams work more independently?

After considering alternatives, the choice of Colony was down to the following factors:

Domain-based Compartments and Reputation Systems

Colony’s structure to divide workflows into teams, or domains was identified by the research team to have significant potential for streamlining clinical workflows and robustly assessing performance among researchers and employees. This approach allows for decentralized management of different teams, projects, and departments, facilitating more granular and efficient task allocation and management.

Native Tokens and Reputation Scores

Colony's use of native tokens and reputation scores was designed to serve as incentives for contribution and performance. This merit-based system rewards contributors based on the value they bring to the project, fostering a more engaged and motivated workforce.

Flexible Staffing and Contribution Tracking

Colony's structure supports a fluid staffing model, where employees can be easily assigned to tasks outside their typical responsibilities, thereby enhancing collaboration and reducing time delays in project execution. The platform's ability to track individual contributions through tasks and reputation scores also helps in recognizing and rewarding valuable contributions more effectively.

Training and Certification Programs

The research team identified Colony's ability to organize tasks into structured programs with different levels of achievement as a tool that could be used for training staff or providing certifications. They found this feature useful in ensuring competency and standardizing skills, especially in healthcare which requires specific qualifications or expertise.


The driving objective of this research was to evaluate the utility of the Colony decentralized application (dApp) within the context of healthcare project management, specifically focusing on clinical research. The aim was to assess how Colony's blockchain-based features could potentially enhance project management processes in healthcare settings, emphasizing the platform's ability to offer decentralized decision-making, transparency, and efficiency.

The research team developed a Colony and assigned specific domains to lab managers authorizing tasks. Lab managers could then set bounties for critical lab related tasks that would then be picked up by organization members. Using the interface, lab managers could see exactly who defined tasks, did the work and who evaluated the work that was done. The team specified a project which suggested several possible applications, for example for onboarding new members, or maintaining flexible staffing arrangements.

Laboratory technician disinfecting hands with disinfection spray.
Photo by Toon Lambrechts / Unsplash

Findings and Conclusion

The researchers found that Colony’s transparency could help external parties evaluate individual contributions within labs, and could provide a game changing opportunity to audit labs and crowdsource capabilities from the wider De-Sci community. In developing their project, the research team identified a few areas where Colony would need to address if we were to disrupt the healthcare industry. For example, they suggested developing an interface to bring more visibility and transparency to the reputation mechanism to provide further context to how individual efforts are measured and rewarded. This has been adopted in our V3 development. Similarly, we also appreciate their suggestions for how to improve how project progress is visualized in the Dapp, another feature that has become a key component of our V3 interface. Additionally, researchers suggested Colony’s lack of integration with existing lab tools would prevent its successful adoption wider in healthcare. This is an important consideration for us as we build out the next version of Colony. Providing options for integrations remains a core goal, with the intention of building a product that will integrate with whatever tools one may need, allowing anyone anywhere to work in the way they work best. If there’s a tool or application you’d like to connect with Colony, please do reach out and let us know!

The researchers suggested another limitation of applying Colony to healthcare that goes far beyond Colony: how to maintain HIPAA-privacy compliance on open blockchains? This remains a key question for everyone concerned with the adoption of blockchain technology with healthcare, where we will continue to follow with great interest.

Thanks again to Tony Luo, Rushmin Khazanchi, Gilberto Guadiana and Sung Won Lee for your investigation of Colony in this application. To learn more about their research project and to read the paper, you can find it here. We greatly appreciate the team's interest and appreciated your kind suggestions for the further development of Colony.

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