The purpose of this study was to engage patients with heart failure (HF) to assess if changes are needed in a research study design, methods and outcomes when transferring interventions used in urban/community hospitals to rural hospital settings. A qualitative structured interview was conducted with eight patients with a diagnosis of HF admitted to two rural hospitals. Patients validated the study design, measures and outcomes, but identified one area that should be added to the study protocol, symptom experience. Results validated that the intervention, methods and outcomes for the planned study were important, but modifications to the study protocol resulted. Patient engagement in the conceptualization of research is essential to guide patient-centered studies.