It is important to have effective therapeutic strategies and goals in clinical practice and research of inflammatory bowel disease. Conventional end points for clinical trials in Crohn's disease and ulcerative colitis have been based on composite indices, such as the Crohn's Disease Activity Index and the Mayo Clinic Score. Although these indices have been shown to reduce the intestinal injury to some extent, satisfactory results have not been obtained in improving the quality of life of patients. Recently, alternative measures of outcome and definitions of response are being developed beyond symptoms. Mucosal healing as a clinical response and treatment goal has showed better long-term outcomes. Patient-reported outcomes (PROs) are emerging instrument directly created by patient to quantify symptoms. Coprimary realistic treatment ‘target’, comprising mucosal healing and PROs, can offer a clinically valid endpoint and can be readily applied in practice compare to existing composite indices. ‘Treat-to-target’ algorithm based on mucosal healing and PROs, in which therapy is progressively intensified until a specific personal treatment goal is reached, could improve quality of life of patient by reducing disease-related disability. Furthermore, histologic remission is an area of increased research focus and has the potential to guide treatment decisions in the future.