Inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) is a complex disease process that often requires the integration of skills from various health care providers to adequately meet the needs of patients with IBD. The medical and surgical treatment options for IBD have become more complicated and are frequently a source of angst for both the patient and provider. However, it has become more important than ever to engage patients in navigating the treatment algorithm. Although novel in the IBD world, the concept of patients' becoming more active and effective managers of their care has been well studied in other disease processes such as diabetes mellitus and mental illness. This idea of patient activation refers to a patient understanding his or her role in the care process and having the skill sets and self-reliance necessary to manage his or her own health care. Over the past decade, evidence supporting the role of patient activation in chronic illness has grown, revealing improved health outcomes, enhanced patient experiences, and lower overall costs. Patient activation can be measured, and interventions have been shown to improve levels of activation over time and influence outcomes. A focus on patient activation is very appropriate for patients with IBD because this may potentially serve as a tool for IBD providers to not only improve patient outcomes and experience but also reduce health care costs.