Venture capital funding continues to pour into healthcare IT companies at a pace that exceeds that of the previous year, according to just-released data from Mercom Capital Group.

Even so, the sprint to invest in digital health companies slowed a bit in the third quarter of 2016, reaching $1.25 billion in 177 deals, compared with $1.6 billion raised in 140 deals in the second quarter of this year.

So far in 2016, venture capitalists have invested $4.2 billion in 463 deals, compared with the $3.6 billion invested in the same quarter in 2015.

“International funding deals continue to be strong, especially in China, boosting overall totals,” said Raj Prabhu, CEO and co-founder of Mercom Capital Group. “2016 is on pace to be the best fund-raising year for the sector.”

There were 118 VC funding deals involving U.S. companies in the third quarter of 2016 and 59 deals with companies from other countries around the world, Mercom reports. In the second quarter of 2016, 108 VC funding deals were recorded in the U.S. and 32 in the rest of the world. The 177 deals reported in the third quarter were about 20 percent more than the number reported in any of the previous four quarters.

There were 87 deals that were $2 million or less, including 47 accelerator or incubator deals in the third quarter of 2016. Prabu said this is a significant increase from the second quarter of 2016, when there were just 43 deals that were for $2 million or less, with only 12 accelerator and incubator deals.

Healthcare consumer-centric companies raised $851 million in 128 deals, accounting for 68 percent of the total raised in the third quarter of 2016 compared to $1.2 billion in 95 deals in the second quarter. Healthcare practice-centric companies secured 32 percent of the funding with $404 million in 49 deals in the just-completed third quarter, compared to the $360 million raised in 45 deals in the second quarter.

The top funded areas were mHealth apps with $253 million; telemedicine companies with $220 million; practice management solutions companies with $82 million; consulting companies with $77 million; mobile wireless with $75 million; wearables and sensors with $74 million; remote monitoring with $65 million; and payer solutions companies with $50 million.

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