I’ll make this short: Don’t start with a time-line! Almost universally every RFP for an EMR/CPOE that I evaluate already has a time-line. Sure, maybe there is a desire to meet certain benchmarks tied to reimbursement, but what makes you think you can meet them? It is like fixing a time-line for climbing Mount Everest without knowing the climbers, their climbing skills or accounting for the worst weather on the planet. Like Everest, most attempts fail to reach the summit; there will be serious casualties; and the majority of attempts fail before even reaching high base-camp.
Find a consultant that you trust. Perform an in-depth readiness assessment; agree on a realistic vision for both the immediate term and the long term; have your own committed sponsors ready to work with your consultants; and move at the speed of success. It is fair to set time goals, but not carved in stone. I am not sure if I have ever seen a pre-project time-line that was achievable. The goal is to reach the summit in one piece not on a particular day.