"The very first step that needs to happen, which frankly many physician offices skip, is the business plan. Why are you doing this? Be very clear about your revenue stream now, your revenue stream after you adopt," Bell said. "Ask if this is the time to go forward with an EHR, or should you watch and wait a little more?"
If you ask Crowley, however, there are worthwhile benefits to implementing an EHR long before the government's deadline.
"We're definitely pleased we did it, and we can see the light at the end of the tunnel. I think we'll be ecstatic once a whole year goes by and everybody's much more comfortable with it," Crowley said. "In terms of patient safety ... we've taken a huge leap forward."
Lucas Mearian covers storage, disaster recovery and business continuity, financial services infrastructure and health care IT for Computerworld. Follow Lucas on Twitter at Twitter @lucasmearian. His e-mail address is email@example.com.