Information and communication technologies are widely used in health and social care settings to replace previous means of record keeping, assessment and communication. Commentary on the strengths and weaknesses of such systems abound, thus it is useful to examine how they are used in practice. This article draws on findings from two separate studies, conducted between 2005 and 2007, which examined how child health and welfare professionals use electronic documents in Finland and England. Known respectively as Miranda and CAF, these systems are different in terms of structure and function but in their everyday use common features are identified, notably the continued use of and reliance on non-electronic means of communication. Based on interviews with professionals, three forms of non-electronic communication are described: alternative records, phone calls and letters, which facilitate the sharing of the electronic record. Finally, the electronic documents are further analysed as potential boundary objects which aim to create common understanding between sites and professionals.