Broken bones. Lacerations. Influenza. Bronchitis. Ankle sprains. Headaches. Migraines. High cholesterol. Diabetes. High blood pressure. Heart palpitations. Fatigue. Lethargy. Unhappiness. Wounds. Sores. Sore throats. Rashes. Infections. These are some of the ailments and illnesses treated at a new facility that has sprung up in the past decade:

Urgent care centers.

Urgent care centers have grown in popularity in the past ten years due to their increased availability and the services that they provide. They also provide a convenient way to access those services, through a walk in system where no appointment is necessary. Their services cover a wide variety of illnesses and ailments.

Urgent care centers have many characteristics that are popular among health patients in the United States. 85% of urgent care centers are open seven days per week. Many times they were open earlier than primary care physician offices and close later as well. Almost always there is a physician on-site, and oftentimes a mid level provider.

Urgent care centers are equipped as well with equipment that some lower level providers don’t have. Many urgent care centers now have x-ray equipment, with some even having MRI equipment to ascertain the damage of broken bones. Four out of five urgent care centers provide fracture care. And they treat lacerations as well.

It is becoming a more popular discipline among doctors as well. 20,000 physicians now practice urgent care medicine, making it a growing discipline within the medical community. And urgent care centers continue to grow in America; their numbers are becoming more numerous, from small towns to larger cities.

Urgent care centers can be seen as the bridge between primary care physicians and emergency rooms. They offer a service range that is between the two; more extensive than the primary care physician, but less than the amount of services available in an emergency department.

Primary care physician offices tend to have the following characteristics: They see people on an appointment basis, they cost very little in terms of most medical treatment, they have hours that correspond to the business day (8am-5pm), and there is one or perhaps two doctors that are in the facility.

Urgent care centers are open earlier and later than primary care physician offices generally speaking. They provide a wider range of services than a primary care physician. There is generally at least one but perhaps more than one physician in the building.

Primary care physician offices have difficulty seeing patients that day, meaning they often have to make appointments for the next day or later on in the week if they want to get treated for a health problem. This poses a difficulty for patients who may have an immediate need but don’t want to go to the emergency room.

Urgent care centers see patients on a walk in basis. They are able to treat immediate problems that day, instead of the patient having to wait a day. This makes them good for ailments and illnesses that are significant and immediate but aren’t life-threatening.

The emergency room offers the best care generally in the area. They have the most sophisticated equipment and the best trained doctors, meaning they will be able to provide the best care available. However, they are costly and recent studies have showed that most people who go to an ER didn’t need to; they could have been treated outpatient.

ER bills sometimes run into the thousands, sometimes to the tens of thousands, depending on the type of treatment that someone needs. An urgent care center, with a less expansive range of treatment but still providing immediate care, costs less than a hundred for copays.

Urgent care centers then have many benefits over an emergency room and a primary care physician. Mostly, they are seen as the go to option for immediate cases that are not life-threatening. They cost more than primary care physicians but less than emergency rooms.

24 hour urgent care is an option that provides urgent and immediate care for 24 hours. 24 hour urgent care is useful for someone who has a problem in the middle of the night, such as when influenza flares up. 24 hour urgent care is good for those that may struggle in the middle of the night, with the primary care physician’s office closed.

24 hour urgent care is a service to the community.