Venture capital funding for emerging healthcare information technology companies in the first nine months of 2017 has already surpassed 2016's total, which was an all-time record in excess of $5 billion in a calendar year.

That data, from Mercom Capital Group, a global communications and research firm, shows that venture capital in 2017 will set a new record for investment in the healthcare IT sector.

Global venture capital funding in the first nine months of 2017 totaled $5.5 billion, 31 percent more than the $4.2 billion that was raised in 2017, Mercom Capital reported. It also reported 586 VC deals so far in 2017, compared with 463 over the year-ago period in 2016.

In the third quarter of 2017, 227 deals for venture capital were recorded, raising $1.5 billion.

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“The record-breaking funding year continues for digital health companies,” says Raj Prabhu, CEO and co-founder of Mercom Capital. “The 227 funding deals in the third quarter was the most ever for a single quarter. The third quarter was all about data analytics, with those companies garnering almost a third of the funding in the third quarter, and artificial intelligence companies receiving more than $200 million.”

Healthcare practice-centric companies received $731 million in 78 deals, accounting for 49 percent of the funding in the just-completed third quarter, compared with $745 million in 63 deals in the second quarter of this year.

Consumer-centric companies accounted for 51 percent of the funding in the just-completed third quarter, raising $751 million in 149 deals—that compares with $1.6 billion in 131 deals in the second quarter of this year.

The top funded areas in the first nine months of this year were data analytics, $1 billion; patient engagement solutions, $686 million; mHealth apps, $549 million; telemedicine, $529 million; booking, $407 million; and mobile wireless, $407 million.

Mercom reported 69 early-stage deals in the third quarter of 2017, including 29 accelerator and incubator deals.

The top VC deals in the third quarter included: $165 million raised by WuXi Nextcode; $75 million raised by M2Gen; $70 million raised by Tempus; $37 million raised by AbleTo; and $34 million raised by HealthEdge.

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