Diabetes coach

Worldwide participants are welcome to apply

Conversations with local teams, mentors and MSD leaders will be held in English.

Country to be implemented first: SAUDI ARABIA

Required language: English (if Arabic language is enable, it will be a plus). The solution interface can be in English


Roughly 27.5% of Saudi patients with Type-2 diabetes take less than 80% of the medication prescribed to them, as indicated in this 2016 IMS report. This sub-optimal therapy adherence among Type-2 Diabetes patients limits the benefits derived from medication, and contributes to increase the economic and social burden associated to the disease.

Non-adherence increases with the number of prescribed medications and the higher dosing frequency. Besides, there is a high obesity rate among Type-2 Diabetes patients, which generates other side effects.

Currently, patient education is mainly in the hands of the Saudi healthcare system which does not have enough resources for patient training. For instances, General Practicioners (GPs) have 5 to 10 minutes per consultation time with patients - which is inadequate to explain, motivate and educate patients on Type-2 Diabetes management-. Besides, they receive limited training on how to optimize this communication to their patients. 

Though there are certified diabetes educators, their number is not enough to cope with the national need of support. There is also low engagement from pharmacies to deliver management support to these patients.

Need/opportunity  description

MSD has identified the need to directly support Type-2 diabetic patients to manage their disease, including their adherence to medication and lifestyle changes.

The solution should be engaging and highly usable, and produce a lasting mesurable impact.

Who is impacted?

Patient Profile: Type 2 Diabetic patients:

Other stakeholders that will also benefit:

  • Healthcare professionals like physicians and nurses dealing with diabetes.
  • Payers (Minister of health - Insurance companies – Hospitals)

Reasons why this is happening

  • Lack of resources within the tradicional Healthcare system.
  • Lack of innovative (digital) solutions to educate and motivate patients

What successful outcomes are expected?

  • Impact. Life quality improvement for type 2 diabetic Saudi patients that use the solution. Though it will be defined in more detail during co-creation phase, it may include an increase in medication adherence, together with changes in lifestyle behaviors.
  • Adoption. Number of patients that regularly use the solution, eg. at least once per week.
  • Satisfaction. Though it will be defined in more detail during co-creation phase, it may include user ratings and reviews. If applies, the perception from Healthcare professionals and the Ministry of Health will also be considered.

Preferred relationship model

MSD initially aims for a sponsorship model where, apart from the $20.000 grant, it will support the company with the: 

  • Adaptation of the digital solution to the Saudi market, including local regulation and market information.
  • Access and networking with local organizations to get approvals, in particular with the Ministry of Health and diabetes-related scientific societies.
  • Support market rollout leveraging national MSD channels.

Please note that solutions targeting patients must be approved by Saudi Food & Drug Administration authority prior to market roll-out. If the solution is classified as a medical device it also needs to be properly registered. Before submission to Saudi FDA, the solution has to get approval from MSD Saudi compliance committee, that includes a clinical review. 

What would mean that the relationship has been successful in 1 year

  • The solution has obtained local authority approval.
  • It is ready for download in Saudi Arabia.
  • It has been promoted in the market.
  • It has been downloaded X* times.
  • Y* users accesses the solution on a regular basis (at least once per week).

*Note: The targeted numbers will be quantified during co-cocreation with the local MSD team.

What we have tried in the past?

  • Static patient website
  • Ramadan mobile app
  • Ramadan patients handouts
  • Educational program to healthcare professionals