James Bessen: How Technology Creates Jobs for Less Educated Workers: "Since 1999, however, the number of LPNs has risen nearly 50% and wages have grown substantially.
The reason: a combination of new technology and a new business model. New technologies, including advances in in electronics, fiber optics and anesthetics, allowed the widespread adoption of techniques for minimally invasive surgery. Using these techniques, surgical patients recover quickly enough to return home the same day.... Medical outcomes improved while avoiding the extra cost of a hospital stay and the complications that tend to arise from more invasive procedures.... Hospitals treat all sorts of patients with all sorts of symptoms. Many diseases, however, are difficult to diagnose.... The ambulatory surgery centers, by contrast, work in specialized areas where diagnoses are well identified, patients are screened for complications, therapies are well known and medical outcomes are predictable, if not always successful.... Because the procedures are standardized, an LPN learns valuable skills on the job.... Increasingly, doctors and dentists are performing a smaller share of the work and a variety of mid-skill providers, from LPNs and dental hygienists to nurse practitioners and physician’s assistants, are performing more. Over the last two decades this shift has created two million new jobs for mid-skill healthcare providers..."