Facilities offering 24-hour urgent care administer immediate service and provide outpatient care for those needing treatment for injury or illness around the clock, according to the American Academy of Urgent Care Medicine. People who need care visit these facilities if they don't need the full services of an emergency room.
People should not substitute urgent care for regularly scheduled visits with their own primary care physicians. However, if one's regular physician is unavailable, or treatment is necessary during times other than normal office hours, urgent care often provides a much shorter waiting time than typical emergency rooms in hospital settings, explains the AAUCM. Urgent care practitioners receive training to provide swift initial diagnoses.