This study examines the requirements that are the most demanding with respect to software and hardware and the associated design strategies for an emergency response system (ERS) for electronic laboratory diagnostics consultation. The system being studied is called the Secure Telecommunications Application Terminal Package or STATPack. STATPack supports distributed laboratories to communicate information and make decisions regarding biosecurity situations. The intent of the system is to help hospital laboratories enhance their preparedness for a bioterrorism event or other public health emergency. Understanding the critical requirements can assist developers to better meet the expectations of the users. This study also serves as input on how to design a system that accommodates HIPAA guidelines. In addition, this study illustrates ways to assess requirements that are unique to public health ERS systems.