Treatment Approaches: Shared Decision-Making

As a patient, you are the boss of your own healthcare. You should always have decision-making power, especially when it comes to making treatment choices.


Because Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis affect everyone differently, it’s important that you make the best decision about your care. That decision is the one that meets all of your needs. The best way you can do this is by working in partnership with your doctor to identify what your specific needs are and what is most important to you. Your doctor may have the medical expertise to know what’s going on inside your gastrointestinal tract, but only you know how you feel. It’s important for you to be involved and engaged with your healthcare team at every point in your IBD journey. You can do this by participating in shared decision-making!

What is Shared Decision-Making?

Shared decision-making is a process where you are actively involved in making decisions around your healthcare alongside of your healthcare provider(s). It provides you with an opportunity to be informed about your treatment, share your concerns, wants or needs, and have a say in your treatment plan. 

Benefits of Shared Decision-Making

Did you know that the majority of IBD patients and IBD physicians (80%) prefer a shared decision-making approach?


There are a lot of benefits that come with participating in shared decision-making. You may find that shared decision-making:

  • Increases your treatment satisfaction
  • Increases your confidence in treatment choice
  • Can help improve your treatment adherence

Picking a medication is not easy. There are a lot of factors to consider. IBD & Me is an online tool that can help you learn more about the types of medications and compare your options.

How Do I Participate in Shared Decision-Making?

The most important way to participate in shared decision-making with your healthcare provider is by being open and honest. This isn’t always easy, but being up front about your symptoms, your preferences, and your expectations is the best approach. Here are some tips to help start the conversation:

  • Practice talking about difficult topics with a friend or family member before your appointment
  • Jot down important questions or thoughts about your treatment and bring them to appointments
  • If you’re unsure about your ability to communicate, bring a friend or family member to your appointment for assistance
  • Recognize that there is more than one “right” way

Communicating with your Provider

With some preparation, you can feel more confident in speaking with your healthcare provider(s) about your treatment needs. The video series below provides a glimpse at some effective AND ineffective ways to communicate with your provider.


Video Length 00:01:56

Communicating Effectively about IBD Treatment Decisions Watch a young adult initiate a productive conversation with their healthcare provider about treatment options, goals, and risks.


Video Length 00:01:35

Communicating Effectively about IBD Maintenance Medications Watch an older adult communicate effectively about managing her IBD maintenance treatments and preferences.


Video Length 00:01:26

Communicating about IBD Treatment Decisions—What NOT to Do In this video, watch an IBD patient not address their symptoms effectively or be honest with his healthcare provider. Learn what not to do and gain suggestions on how to better communicate.

Shared Decision-Making and Selecting Treatments

With so many types of treatments available to treat Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis, it’s important that you understand your options so that you can have a meaningful and honest conversation with your doctor in order to pick the right treatment for you.

When seeing your doctor:

  • Review all treatment options, along with the benefits and risks.

  • Consider which medications align best with your treatment goals and preferences.

  • Don’t be afraid to speak up. Let your provider know your preferences and what’s most important to you and your family.

  • Work with your provider to weigh your preferences with your treatment options to make a decision.

We can help you understand the different types of treatments available to patients with Crohn’s disease and ulcerative colitis so that you and your doctor can work together to pick the right treatment for you.

Check out our recorded webinar to learn more:




Steps in Shared Decision Making...

Key steps in shared decision-making


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