Rates of self-reported burnout and depression have decreased among physicians in the US, according to findings from Medscape Physician Burnout & Depression Report: “We Have Much Work to Do.” With 49% of doctors saying they are burned out and 20% saying they are depressed, the latest figures are an improvement over last year’s report, which showed rates of 53% and 23%, respectively.

The vast majority (83%) of doctors with burnout or depression said professional stress is the primary contributor. About half of all respondents (48%) say employers do not recognize the pervasiveness of burnout among their medical staff.

Bureaucratic tasks remain the top-cited cause of burnout (62%), followed by spending too many hours at work (41%), and lack of respect from administrators, employers, and coworkers (40%).

Consistent with previous surveys, female physicians reported higher rates of burnout than male physicians. About 16% of women and 14% of men practicing medicine say that burnout is so severe (5 on a 5-point scale) that they may leave medicine. The greatest proportion of respondents (35% women, 38% men), rated burnout at 3 on the 5-point scale.

Physicians in Emergency Medicine had the highest rates of burnout (63%), followed by Ob/Gyn and Oncology (53% each), and Pediatrics, Family Medicine, and Radiology (51% each). Plastic surgeons had the lowest rates of burnout (37%). Dermatology was in the middle of the pack, with 46% of physicians reporting burnout.