A randomised controlled trial was undertaken to evaluate the impact of a patient-centred, evidence-based guidebook on knowledge, anxiety and quality of life (QoL) in patients with ulcerative colitis. The information in the book was developed closely with patients and focused on their identified needs. All 240 subjects in the study were on long-term follow-up for ulcerative colitis and were effectively responsible for the day-to-day management of their condition in the community. Outcomes were measured at 1 month and 9 months. Patients attended outpatient clinics at six hospitals: three hospitals were randomised to be control sites; and three were intervention sites where patients were given a copy of the guidebook. The results showed that patients receiving the guidebook demonstrated significantly better knowledge of their ulcerative colitis at 1 month, which persisted at 9 months, than patients in the control group. Anxiety and QoL scores were unchanged throughout. The present authors conclude that appropriate information is an essential prerequisite to greater patient involvement in chronic disease management. Patient-centred information increases knowledge without increasing anxiety and should be made available to patients through an appropriate health provider.